Certified Scrum Product Owner Trends

I’ve seen a few interesting trends with the Certified Scrum Product Owner role:

As of April 2015, Certified ScrumMasters outnumberedCertified Scrum Product Owners by a ratio of 6 to 1. It was difficult fill a CSPO class, and we usually ran 3 ScrumMaster classes for every 1 Product Owner class. This is starting to change. In this post I list some of my observations and thoughts on why we are starting to see an increase in Certified Scrum Product Owner numbers.


  • Product Ownership is growing. I’ve done four straight Certified Scrum Product Owner courses. Now that these large companies are adopting
    Business Graph

    Scrum, there is pressure on the Program Management and Product Management groups to have answers and visibility for how the work will be broken down, tracked and rolled out iteratively. Product Owners are getting equipped and involved to help come up with answers.

  • Scaling agile is now almost always part of their conversation. Whether looking at the Scaled Agile Framework or their own internal process, they are addressing the gaps of content authority, decision-making and coordination with roles and structures such as Chief Product Owner, a Program Level Kanban with their process steps and people involved such as Group Leads, Functional Managers, UX Lead, Architects, Release Manager/Release Train Engineer. Once you have more than several teams or 50 people involved, it’s likely you’ll want additional coordination.
  • There is a continuing shift from Project Management to Product Management. Project Managers are taking the Certified Scrum Product Owner course. As one PMO head recently said, “I know things will look different. I don’t know exactly how, but I know the demands on my group as the PMO will be less.” Half of his PM’s became Product Owners.
  • Growth in ability and use of tools. Product Owners are leveraging tools more, such as Axure or Easel for interactive and rapid prototypes. They are using Aha.io for roadmapping, Lean Canvas for business case one-page modeling, and Survey Monkey and Qualaroo for surveys. POs are doing A/B testing with Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer.
  • Companies are re-visiting or re-booting their Scrum adoption or agile transformation that they came up with. Most often it is because things weren’t done right the first time. All they did was hire a “good” ScrumMaster (without really knowing what that looks like or how to evaluate them) and tried to implement on their own. It might be they sent some people to a Certified ScrumMaster class, but then those people met resistance upon return (shocking, I know). It might be cultural change due to leadership change or growth. And on a related note,
  • Product Owners, and their teams and management, are getting agile coaching. We are asked for a Scrum coach or organizational transformation coaching regularly now. Especially given the growth of Scrum, it’s success, and the size of the companies, this makes sense, and is really good to see.

If you are looking for a CSM training, CSPO training, Advanced Agile training, or private agile training in the Southern California area, please consider Rocket Nine Solutions.

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