CAS 6 Tips for POs

Topic Summary

Designed for Scrum-centric organizations with more than 10 Scrum teams, the Collaboration at Scale webinar series provides focused, outcome-driven solutions to collaboration problems faced by Product Owners, ScrumMasters, and Development Teams. Produced by the Scrum Alliance and Conteneo, Inc., we’re proud of the many distinguished experts who will be joining our series.

Top 3 Questions Asked

  1. What is a good way to make dependencies transparent?
  2. What is the difference between a Product Owner and Product Manager?
  3. What is the purpose of the Discovery Board?

Featured Framework

     Definition of Ready Card


Kent McDonald: Kent McDonald's experience includes work in product ownership, business analysis, strategic planning, project management, and product development in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, performance marketing, human services, nonprofit, and automotive. Active in the business analysis and agile software development communities helping people share stories about what does and does not work. Expertly coordinates summits, conferences, and charity events. Apply advanced strengths in the intersection of analysis, discovery and agile software development.


Luke HohmannLuke Hohmann is the founder and CEO of Conteneo In.(formerly the Innovation Games Company). Conteneo's enterprise software platforms and professional services merge collaboration frameworks, data analytics, and domain expertise to help organizations optimize decision making in the areas of strategy, innovation, sales, product development, and market research. Luke is also co-founder of Every VoiceEngaged Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that helps citizens, governments, and other nonprofit organizations collaborate at scale to solve technical and wicked problems.    

More Frameworks Discussed in this Webinar

      story mapping    Definition of Ready Card

Contact the Collaboration at Scale Team

Subscribe and Receive Conteneo's Newsletter and Updates

Top 3 Questions Asked & Answered

Question 1: What is a good way to make dependencies transparent?

Answer: Try a Portfolio Alignment Wall.  It is really just a basic grid structure but each team down the left side should have two swim lanes - one for discovery and one for delivery.  Sprints are displayed across the top horizontally.  Ramp up time that might be needed can then be shown in the discovery swim lane and this work might only be done by part of the team to prepare for what is coming (usually the Product Owner, Architect and perhaps a UX person) while the rest of the team can be completing the previous work.  Color coding makes this really easy to understand and its the simplicity that makes it work.

Question 2: What is the difference between a Product Owner and Product Manager?

Answer: Product Owners do own value but Scrum Product Owner learning objectives do not talk about pricing, licensing, distribution, marketing, market sizing, research and sales.  Product Managers tend to be responsible for these things while Product Owners often are not.  Another way to think about it is that PMs look outward at the market and make big strategic decisions about what to create.  POs tend to work inside the big strategy and focus on how the work will be done.  This does bring up a larger issue about team alignment - does the team all have a shared mental model about how each team member contributes to the whole?  The Team Canvas in Weave can help facilitate such a discussion.

Question 3: What is the purpose of the Discovery Board?

Answer: Items in the backlog are expressed in a discovery board so that the teams can see how backlog items are progressing to the point where they are ready to work on.  A Discovery Board has four columns: New, Ready to Estimate, Estimated and Ready to Rock.  New ideas or epics go into first column.  Teams will think about whether they know enough about an item to start to work on sizing or whether something needed to be split down.  Items in the Ready to Size column are used as an agenda for the sizing discussions when the whole team gets together and once they are sized – items move to the Estimated column.  The boundary between Estimated and Ready to Rock is based on the Definition of Ready that the team should have already agreed to that set criteria for when a story could move to sprint planning.  Any story in Ready to Rock column – they are guaranteed to be good to go for a sprint on day 1.   So it is important to have a Definition of Ready clearly defined.  .