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While working with Agile transformations, I’ve been noticing as I’m sure most of you have as well, the focus on development teams shifting to some form of Agile delivery, in most cases Scrum. And with this focus, the Scrum Master typically is part of this early shift, however, the Product Owner role seems to be an afterthought, as is the Business in whole.

Why do organizations start from the delivery side, and try to bring the business along at a later time? Is it because it seems easier to re-align delivery teams? Is there less friction, therefore the path of least resistance for this type of re-organization?

Typically, when true Product Ownership is introduced, the business finds they need to re-organize themselves to allow the dedication of the Product Owner, possibly re-defining their products, org chart hierarchy shifts, etc. Is this effort what puts them on the back burner in the early stages of transformation? Get the quick wins and come back to the more difficult part later?

Whatever the reason is, it seems to always make the transformation more difficult by leaving a critical role to the latter part of the journey. This role always seems to be playing catch up, causing more friction as they try to acclimate to what the delivery team has already grown accustomed to. I can’t see how you increase your chances of success when you start with such a disconnect between roles that are so critical to be aligned.

What are some of your thoughts or observations when it comes to the development of the Product Owner role in transformations you’ve been a part of?

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