James King

Agile coach, ELMO Software

James King work at ELMO Software, a cloud-based solution that helps thousands of organisations across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to effectively manage their people, process and pay.

James is an agile coach who works with teams to help them uncover and fulfil their potential.

James is a big believer in the potential for Product Owners to do more than just prioritise backlogs and explain requirements to teams of developers. He wants to see people play a role that is partly helping customers to access products that are useful to them and partly helping teams to bring back the joy of creating something so they can focus their energy on building something that they are proud of rather than being a feature factory.

What makes a great Product Owner (PO)?

We hear a lot about what both BA’s and PO’s do, everything from managing a backlog, to writing stories, through to obscure things like being lucky rabbit’s feet for teams, navigators on ships or even the ones sipping pina coladas while the rest of the team work on building something.

But what really makes a PO effective and how can someone grow into that role.

In this talk, Tom and James will claim that the way the role is described in a typical PO job description makes it look like the role is about keeping the backlog full in a “feature factory” and that this is almost the opposite of what the role should be.

Instead, they will claim, the PO should be an alchemist who helps a team unravel the formula combining the creation of valuable customer products, based on real evidence of what customers need, with creating an environment where the team can honestly say they are having a fun and fulfilling experience in doing so.

More importantly though, Tom and James will claim this is not about magic, but about learning from the experiences that are already available to someone trapped filling backlogs in a feature factory.

While they do not have all the answers and they even disagree on what some of the answers that they do have, Tom and James believe that they can share insights and experiences that will help someone to leverage their existing role to complete the journey, even before the organisation knows the true potential for the role.

BABOK V3 Alignment: To be advised