The story of the book: “The Professional Product Owner”

The story of the book: “The Professional Product Owner”

How did I end up writing this book with Don McGreal? We have a deep love for product development in an agile and scrum environment. Within the Scrum framework, we both have a particular affinity for the Product Owner role

How it all began

It all started in 2015 at the Scrum Conference in Washington DC. Don and I were both at the conference and we sat down and talked about the Product Owner curriculum. We had some ideas about it, so we headed to a bar and discussed how we would teach the class. We took out our laptops and thought about values being the most important aspect. We quickly realised it doesn’t really work like that. We had to first talk about actual product management, then talk about value, and so on.

Developing the curriculum

After five days at the conference, we had only completed about half of our work on the curriculum. We continued to work on it for another three months – mainly over Skype. Once it was ready, we presented it to Dave West and Ken Schwaber at They liked our work, and we became the stewards for the product owner training at

And so, we created this training and took care of maintaining it. Sometimes people discovered that there was something problematic on a slide or they had another idea to add to the curriculum, which we would then incorporate into the training.

Writing the book

Around 2016, I met with Dave West at Scrum Day London. We discussed product ownership and he mentioned that Ken Schwaber thought there was a need for a book about proper product ownership. I called Don that evening and asked if he was ready to write this book with me. He’d started a similar project before but had never finished it, so he agreed and we decided to give it a try and began writing.

It took us one and a half years from start to finish. It was an interesting process, and it was rewarding to finally hold our “baby”, the finished work in our hands.

And you know what? Our book has already been translated into simplified Chinese, South Korean, Polish and German, so I guess it’s doing a good job!

About Effective Agile

Ralph Jocham is a Change Agent in Scrum // Agile // Coaching // Evidence Based Management and also a Professional Scrum Trainer based in Europe.

As one of the first Professional Scrum Trainers in the world, Ralph has worked directly with cocreator of #scrum, Ken Schwaber, and has played an integral part in the course development of the #PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner) as well as the delivery of all certified courses.

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