Serious Scrum
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Serious Scrum

Product Owners lose their job when SAFe is introduced

Let’s put an end to SAFe doublespeak: SAFe kills the Product Owner role and replaces it with Story Owners

Image by StartupStockPhotos
  • Before SAFe
  • After SAFe

The Product Owner role before and after SAFe from the Scrum Guide’s perspective

Let’s compare the Product Owner role, from the Scrum Guide’s perspective before SAFe (Scrum) and after SAFe:

Product Owner —the SAFe perspective

In SAFe, the Product Owner is responsible for:

  • Defining Stories and Prioritizing the Team Backlog.
  • Creating acceptance tests in Behavior-Driven Development with your Development Team.
  • Dependency management and planning of iterations.
  • Accepting stories. This includes validating the story meets acceptance criteria, appropriate, persistent acceptance tests, and complies with the Definition of Done (DoD).
  • You don’t have complete freedom on how you express your Team Backlog. You have to use Stories, Enabler Stories, and Behavior-Driven Development.
  • You have to accept stories as a Product Owner. You can’t trust the team, you must check if they did their job correctly on a technical level.
  • You don’t talk to customers or try to understand the market. That’s the job of the Product Manager. Just do what the Product Manager says, and all will be good.
  • SAFe Product Owners operate in the solution space, not in the problem space. SAFe PO’s take features, process them and spit out Stories.

SAFe evicts the Product Owner and replaces it with a Story Owner

The SAFe Product Owner is a light version of a Business Analyst mixed with some planning responsibilities. At least a Business Analyst has freedom in how they express Backlog Items. With SAFe, everything is a Story. That’s why I believe Story Owner to be a much more apt name.

Image by Yolanda Coervers



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