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What 3 books would you recommend to help me understand product ownership?

As a scrum master, you work in service of the development team and the product owner.

To do so effectively requires that you understand product ownership. You need to understand the role, you need to understand the tools and frameworks used by product owners, and you need to be able to effectively coach the product owner to ensure the development team are capable of building the right product in the right way.

So, as a scrum master, it is your responsibility to understand product ownership in addition to your own role as a scrum master and agile coach.

Strategize – Roman Pichler

The first book I would recommend is Strategize by Roman Pichler.

Roman is a phenomenon in the product ownership space and he’s written a brilliant book to help you understand the product ownership role, responsibilities, and the tools necessary to get the job done.

He really gets product ownership. He’s been there, he’s done that, and he’s excelled as a product owner in some of the toughest applications of the role.

The book is a distillation of his many years of experience in the product owner role and he teaches some amazing stuff to help you both understand the role and excel as a product owner.

The book features product roadmaps and product planning. Roman explores the types of roadmaps that you can use and in which applications they are best served.

It’s a really great insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of a product owner and it provides you with everything you need to truly excel as a product owner.

Value Proposition Design – Alex Osterwalder

Value Proposition Design by Alex Osterwalder is a great book to get you thinking about the customers you serve and what most matters to them.

Alex Osterwalder is the co-creator of the Business Model Canvas and the book serves to help you understand how customers are trying to get specific ‘jobs’ done whilst at the same time, looking to gain value and avoid pain.

On the one side of the value proposition canvas, Alex features the customer jobs by category.

  • Functional Jobs
  • Emotional Jobs
  • Social Jobs
  • Supporting Jobs

It empowers you to look at a customer from multiple different perspectives.

An example would be that a customer has the functional job of buying a pair of sunglasses to avoid eye strain yet at the same time, fulfill the social job of looking great, stylish and hip.

Supporting the customer jobs are the list of gains that customers are looking to achieve and listing the pains that the customer is trying to avoid or diminish.

On the other side of the value proposition canvas, Alex features the company’s products and services.

In terms of a product-market fit, the canvas features each of the products and services that your company pitch, and links them to the specific jobs that the customer is trying to achieve.

In addition to this, the canvas features the gain creators and pain alleviators fulfilled by the product, feature or service provided and links those to the corresponding gain creators and pain alleviators relative to the customer segment you are serving.

It’s a great way to map out value propositions per customer segment and really provides the team with granular insight into what specifically the customer values, why they value it, and how that value is delivered to the customer.

User Story Mapping – Jeff Patton

User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton is a brilliant book that explores the concept of user story mapping in Scrum and how product owners can use this tool to build products and services that truly delight customers.

The User Story Mapping tool and technique is a very simple yet effective way to understand exactly how a customer is going to use your product, feature, or service.

It explores what steps customers will go through, from the beginning of their journey through to the end of their journey, when using and interacting with your product.

It also explores why customers will go through this journey and map out the user experience.

There are product goals, activities, and tasks.

The book helps you explore what your goals are and why it’s important.

It also explores what activities a customer may want or need to complete in their customer journey and what tasks they must accomplish in order to achieve their goal.

Jeff is a master at this stuff and the book will go a long way to help you master both this tool and technique.

As a scrum master, you will be helping and coaching the product owner to effectively articulate what the value proposition of a specific product, feature or service is and to help the development team understand all the necessary elements and components of the customer journey.

This book will help you do exactly that.

So, those are my 3 recommendations for books that will help you understand the product ownership role and how you can effectively serve both the development team and product owner.

If you like the idea of becoming a scrum master, visit our Certified Scrum Master course page.

If you are already a scrum master and want to upskill, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master course page.

If you have several years’ experience as a scrum master and want to both validate and certify your professional skills, visit our Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master course page.

If you like the idea of mentored and coach-driven skills development, visit our Agile Coach Academy.

If you have identified coaching as a valuable skill to develop, visit our on-demand Introduction to Coaching course page.

For more information on John McFadyen, visit https://www.johnmcfadyen.com

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