Product Owners Participating in Daily: Some Benefits

Even though the team I work in does not do Scrum, we do have a daily short get-together (our Daily) where we give each other an update on the topics we are working on. It’s pretty close to the definition of a Daily Scum.

The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work. The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers

Scrum Guide

Where we strain away from the definition is the part about the Product Owner not participating in the Daily. Even though I am not developing anything I still feel that being in the Daily is a very good use of my time and hopefully everyones else’s. Here are some benefits I find by being there.

Correcting misdirection

Ideally, any item that the team is working on is so small and well defined that there are no questions while it’s being developed. We have not mastered such levels yet, so it can happen that questions regarding acceptance criteria do come up when someone actually starts development. It can also happen that as we are going through the progress of an item we find that we might need to reconsider the initial acceptance criteria or change them. With the PO being in the Daily we find out about such misdirection as soon as it happens and correct it early enough.

Less interruptions

Even though our Daily is about 15 minutes we have decided to block our calendars for an entire hour, in case we need to further discuss a certain topic. Any correction that we need to do as identified above we can do at that time without having to look for meeting slots and bring our schedules upside down. But it also helps me be honest and hold any non-urgent questions to developers until that dedicated time slot. Discussing unexpected topics has become part of our daily planning so it doesn’t interrupt our workday.

Faster releases

By the time an item is ready, you have discussed so much about it on daily basis that there isn’t anything left to specifically accept or be surprised about as a Product Owner. That saves time from finding something at the end and having developers reworking it. Following the pace of the development you know how “ready” a feature is and you can prepare for its release in parallel.

Everything above improves the flow of our work. But beyond that, working daily aligned we get to know each other better while facing obstacles and we celebrate together when we overcome them. For me, the biggest benefit of participating in the Daily was that I became part of a team instead of just being the Product Owner working with a team.

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