A Story Owner keeps the focus on the User Story

While working with Scrum Teams I often notice User Stories considered done by the team, usually the acceptance by the Product Owner being the last step. But in fact in many cases none of the team members did a final check of the done criteria. Each team member expects that someone else has taken care of it and since the Product Owner accepted the story nothing is to be done anymore. During the Review suddenly something pops up which should have been covered by the Definition of Done. 

To support my teams reaching their self-inflicted quality standards (= Definition of Done) I sometimes propose to have a “Story Owner” for each User Story. Generally speaking the Story Owner takes care that all agreements from the Definition of Done are met before a story is given to the Product Owner for acceptance. Being a Story Owner does not mean, that this person has to do all the steps by herself, but is responsible that they’re done at all. Which tasks are exactly part of this role depends on the team, here are a few examples:

  • Ensure that the stories with the highest priority is being worked on. If the Story owner of a not yet finished, high prioritized get aware that someone is working on a story with lower priority, he asks the person to support the higher prioritized story first.
  • Check the Definition of Done, before showing the User Story to the Product Owner for acceptance
  • Get the Product Owners’ acceptance

As I mentioned above this is just a proposal. It’s up to the team if they name Story Owners at all and if yes, which are their specific tasks. But make sure this task doesn’t get too much weight. Don’t call it a role, since it’s definitely not a role like Scrum Master, Product Owner or Team Member. Usually I refer to the Story Owner as the Godfather of a story. Especially with inexperienced teams (in terms of self-organization) having a Story Owner for each User Story helps the team focussing on the most important stories and tasks.

This blogpost was derived from the book “Scrum in der Praxis” (german). In this book you’ll find a lot of proposal to enhance your daily work as a Scrum Master. On our Website you’ll find links, recommendations and all the images from the book for your personal use.

This blogpost is available in german as well.

 

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