Agile Blog
Follow me writing about all sort of agile topics. Read about Scrum, Kanban and XP as well as anything related to startups and company culture in general.

Certified Scrum Product Owner

15. October 2015

Last week, I joined a scrum product owner certification course held by Markus Gärtner. Not that I would have expected it anyway from a known company in that field, but the course was well prepared and held professionally.

Reading time:

Why I was taking the course

I have been working in the scrum field for some time now. Since I decided to shift my main focus from tech to people, I looked out for new opportunities. Working as a scrum coach and trainer in the long run will enable me to make use of all my past experience. This includes my roles as a developer, team leader as well as coach, mentor and trainer.

To be able to work as a Certified Scrum Trainer which includes doing certification courses, I need to get certified as a scrum trainer first. Among other things, this does not only include having co trainings with experienced trainers to master your skills, but also requires you to show your experience in the scrum field. This is what the Certified Scrum Professional is for and which is required to start the scrum trainer certification process. It validates that you have worked with scrum for a longer period as well as that you continuously educate yourself. The last part is done by collecting so called Scrum Education Units (SEUs) by various activities, which include certification courses, scrum gatherings, user groups, reading books, writing articles and all sorts of other things.

In the past, I have worked in and around product owner roles (or similar) in various places. This included building product visions, writing backlog items, structuring release plans and such things. But my situation was different to the other people taking the course, as in the future I am not planning to work as a product owner directly. I was motivated to take the course of other reasons:

  • As a scrum master: Get a better idea how the product owner works, what tools he uses (things like the product vision board), and how I could support the product owner better as a scrum master.

  • As a scrum coach or consultant: Get a better overall picture of scrum including all the roles and processes, which is mandatory for me if I am introducing the process to new teams and companies, which is the case now again. Still I figured out that the more I get into new topics, or known topics into more detail, the more questions come up as well. I still consider this being a good thing. I just need to cope with that the reading list will probably never end.

  • As a Scrum Trainer: Looking at the training from a possible scrum trainer candidates view (what a word!!), it was good to see the prioritization between scrum master and product owner trainings. In general both have to understand the process, but scrum masters need to train their team, product owners can always get back to the scrum master regarding that. So the priorities are clearly on product development issues.

  • As a Scrum Professional: Finally it was good to collect additional Scrum Education Units for my certification as a Scrum Professional.

Take aways

As I am currently reading a lot, and have been around scrum for some time now, many things were familiar. I would have been surprised if not.

Just to mention a few notable things:

  • Agile manifesto: Still the agile values and principles are not available to me upfront, and I have to think hard about them get the out of my brain. That is especially strange, as it’s the core of all the work. That needs to be improved.

  • Example Mapping by Matt Wynne: I haven’t used it before, though it seems to be a valuable tool for getting stories sorted out more clearly.

  • Prioritize by cost-of-delay: I have never done prioritization of a backlog by cost of delay. But the benefit is clear, so it will certainly be considered for future backlog refinements and plannings.

  • Lego City: That again was a fun factor of the training, which was already part of my Scrum Master Certification with Jürgen „Mentos“ Hoffmann, Emendare. This is all about simulating the scrum process and make the team familiar with it in a quick and entertainig way.

In general, I have taken notes on fields which I knew before, but which I figured out were not clear enough to explain it right away to people new to scrum with a good structure and a complete picture. That includes not just the theory of individual parts, but also names, dates and real live examples, which often makes it easier to understand and relate to real cases. Some of these topics will be worked out as blog posts, some of them just for me personally.


This might seem to be obvious to anyone else, but it wasn’t for me before I started taking scrum courses. You should not expect to master your new role just after a 3 day course. It is giving you a head start into this new field, guiding you through the important bits and pieces. Like in any other job, it takes time to master your skills. If you want to be a good product owner, spend time on continuously improving your skills. This is not only true for the product owner course, but also for the scrum master course of course. Ideally you are in an agile environment, and supported by agile coaches to implement this new process.

Markus did an awesome job with the certification course. He guided us very well through the training and across all the important parts of a product owners role. It was also well entertaining, which I find important for a training of 3 days to keep people on the topic. Also he did go into detail on all questions which came up through the training, which I consider makes him a good trainer as well.