Product Owner’s Product and Project Board

The team has its Scrum board as an information radiator. It is an excellent way of getting an overview of the sprint. But what about us, the product owners, don’t we need that too? Of course we do, we too have a need for an overview of our work and to radiate information. The stakeholders pass by and ask “what’s in next sprint”, “when will we migrate”. We’d like to just answer with a light gesture towards the wall. It is all there for everyone to see.

Let me tell you how our project owner board works, as an example.

We are a team of 3 PO and a CPO. We have a couple of products which are offered to approximately 50 customers. What we wanted was to get the concepts of projects, products and sprints together. The board should give an overview of three sprints (each 3 weeks) and also of the coming year. Don’t ask me how we designed this, it was not mainly my idea but I was at least in the room. ūüôā

The first board is the year overview. The are four main columns, one for each quarter, starting with current. The products are in the rows. We draw the projects as horizontal lines to illustrate  the time span and which product or products are affected. The lines are colored to show status. We have green for committed, red for committed with external dependencies and blue for proposals. Projects are development and deployment of a feature set that support a business case.

The second board also has four columns: the current sprint, the next, the next after that and “later”.¬† On the rows are projects that picked from the first board.¬† This links the boards together so that we can see easily how business cases become projects that affects products and are planned in user stories which in their turn, are implemented in sprints.

Both boards are drawn on a white-board next to each other. Yes, we do have to erase and shift left each sprint and each quarter. Plans change anyway. ūüôā

By now, you already scrolled down to see the boards in picture. I can’t show the real stuff so you have to accept a sketch.

Board 1 Projects over Products
Board 1 Projects over Products

That was the first board. Now follow the projects into the next board.

Board 2 - Sprints
Board 2 - Sprints

The user stories (US) are placed inside sprints, arranged by which project they belong too. We have written the due days for each sprint, as you can see.

What did we think was good about this? The first thing is that we as PO were better of staying ahead of the scrum teams by planning the coming sprints. It is not only to the stakeholders satisfaction we do that, we also can see that we are doing things in good order. The first board gives us the possibility to prioritize on a project level. We can refrain from taking on too many or too large projects which is always tempting.

We have not lived that long with this board but I have a good feeling about this. Two linked board with different time horizon.

If you are a PO and have no board – get a go and follow our example.

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