Lesson 2: How To Be A Product Owner 2017-07-13T16:23:07-08:00

AGL Academy

A community effort by Agile government professionals to help educate and empower
those who seek to implement Agile processes into their own agencies

Agile for the Government Product Owner

Lesson 2: How To Be A Product Owner

The Product Owner is the champion of the user and of the project vision.

During this lesson, you will gain a deeper understanding of what a Product Owner does and the challenges you may face in a government context, along with tips on how to succeed. You will read materials, watch videos, and perform a ”PO Assessment” — then graduate from the second week and start practicing what’s been learned.


  • Read all items on reading list (share what you’ve learned with team members!)
  • Watch all videos on watch list
  • Perform PO Self-Assessment
  • Move on to Lesson 3

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What Is A Product Owner?
Find out what Product Owners do, where they come from, and what makes a good one. (Study time: 10 min)

Product Ownership In The Government Context
As a Product Owner in government, you will face some unique situations. (Study time: 10 min)

How The Product Owner Relates To Other Roles
Learn how to fulfill your role properly in cooperation with executives and other team members. (Study time: 10 min)

Common PO Challenges
Here are some challenges you may face as a government PO — and how to handle them. (Study time: 20 min)

Scrum Alliance CSPO Learning Objectives
The Scrum Alliance offers a Certified Scrum Product Owner credential to individuals who, among other qualifications, have been trained to meet these learning objectives. (Study time: 30 min)

U.S. Digital Services Playbook
The federal government provides 13 key “plays” drawn from successful practices that help agencies build better services. This is not exclusively relevant to the PO, but provides a broader context for how projects should run. (Study time: 30 min)

The TechFAR Handbook
A guide to the flexibilities in the U.S. Government Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that can help agencies implement “plays” from the U.S. Digital Services Playbook that would be accomplished with acquisition support. This is not exclusively relevant to the PO, but provides a broader context for procurement activities leading up to the project. (Study Time: 60 min)


Agile Project Ownership In A Nutshell
High-level summary of Agile from a Product Owner’s perspective. (Study Time: 15 min)

The Essential Product Owner: Partnering With The Team
Even the best POs struggle to meet the demands of their “regular business-focused job” while providing sufficient team guidance.  Agile expert Bob Galen shares real-world situations where he’s observed product owners who deliver truly balanced value for their business stakeholders. (Study Time: 75 min)


Now take the PO Self Assessment to evaluate yourself on your ability to be a Product Owner. Be honest with your capacity; you can take this assessment again later to see how it’s changed. Certainly after your first project as a Product Owner you will see a change in some of your responses, as practice makes a big difference in your capabilities.

Back to Product Owner course ›

Continue to Lesson 3