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The Product Owner and Governance?

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The Product Owner and Governance?

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This is going to be a quick little post to see if I can get some feedback from you guys…

In my recent post 12 Key Agile Assumptions, I made the assertion that agile methods assume you have minimal process governance. Here is an except from that post:

11. Minimal process governance – Agile doesn’t deal with phases, budget approvals, business cases, templates, change management, audit controls, charter documents, scope sign-off and the like… at least not explicitly. Much of this is left to the strength of relationship, and the degree of trust, between the customer and the team. In larger, more complex organizations, at least for now, governance is part of the equation. We need to have a credible story in place to deal with it. There are tons of things we can do here, it’s just that agile doesn’t have the answer… and in all honesty, that’s kinda by design.

I got a comment from one of my Twitter followers @AgilePME telling me that my point was wrong:

AgilePME: @mcottmeyer re http://bit.ly/gUHLj6 – 11 is wrong. These are the core responsibilities of effective Product Owners & aren’t outside #scrum.

Are we really suggesting that the Product Owner is the embodiment of process governance for the team? Or is it that the Product Owner simply abstracts process governance from the team? If we are suggesting that the PO is process governance, I would suggest that is by its very definition, minimal. If we are suggesting that the PO should abstract process governance from the team, I might suggest that there is a ton of heavy weight governance models out there that would be totally incongruent, and potentially disruptive to a Scrum team.

So… have we all decided that Governance is within scope for a PO? I’d love it if anyone happens to have reference to something definitive you could point me to. Obviously I am missing something. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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