What is the product owner’s role?
A product owner is a person who represents the customer, business or user community and is responsible for working with the team to determine what features will be included in the product release. As a liaison between the development team and customers, the product owner must collaborate closely with both groups to ensure there is a clear understanding of what features are needed in the product or application. Because there may be a variety of types of customers and users, the product owner must have a firm understanding of the business domain and the varying needs of different types of users.
The product owner role requires an individual with certain skills and traits, including availability, business savvy, and communication skills. First, the Scrum product owner should remain available to the team. The best product owners show commitment by doing whatever is necessary to build the best product possible – and that means being actively engaged with their teams.
Business savvy is important for the agile product owner because he or she is the decision maker regarding what features the product will have. That means, the agile PO should understand the market, the customer and the business in order to make sound decisions.
Finally, communication is a large part of the product owner responsibilities. The product owner role requires working closely with key stakeholders throughout the organization and beyond, so he or she must be able to communicate different messages to different people about the project at any given time.
The Product Owner is the visionary of the project and is responsible for :
- Gathering requirements
- Managing and prioritizing the Product Backlog
- Software acceptance
- Planning the release
- Understand the value of the project
Skills of Product Owner
A product owner is usually a CEO, a Domain Specialist, a Project Manager or even a Business Analyst with technical skills. A Product Owner should ideally have a good balance of the following skills :
- Domain expertise
- Good technical knowledge
- A decision maker
- Easily available to the team
Responsibilities of the Product Owner
The Product Owner decides what will be built and in which order. He or she will :
Manage Product Backlog and Release Planning
- Define the features of the product or desired outcomes of the project.
- Adjust features/outcomes and priority as needed to ensure ROI.
- Fully elaborates Acceptance Criteria for User Stories.
- Prioritize User stories according to business value.
- Perform Release planning and ensures that the release backlog is aligned with the Vision and Roadmap.
- Reviews backlog in depth with the Scrum Master in preparation for future Release Planning activities.
- Write new User Stories needed in order to have a complete and comprehensive backlog.
Work closely with the Scrum Team
- Collaborates with the team to ensure User Stories are accurately elaborated and understood.
- Ensures that everyone in the Scrum Team understands what is required.
- Be available to answer any question arise during Sprint execution and support them.
Sprint Planning and Execution
- Attends Sprint Planning in order to answer any remaining questions.
- Attends Daily Stand-ups to remain engaged and up-to-date on the team’s progress.
- Completes incremental reviews of stories as they are completed.
- Adjust priorities of stories mid-sprint based on impediments or dependencies.
- Attend the Demo to provide feedback and acceptance of stories.
- Accept work results.
- Collaborates with Stakeholders outside of the team to review progress.
- Collect and discuss required functionalities with the different Stakeholders. These requirements are then combined and filtered before giving it to the team in the form of prioritized Scrum Product Backlog Items.
5 Qualities of the product owner
As every team member is responsible for the product success, It is must for the product owner to provide guidance and direction to everyone involved in the development effort and ensures that the project goes well.
2. Decision making
He or she should be a good decision maker especially in deciding which product features will bring the highest ROI.
He/she must be able to communicate different messages to different people about the project at any given time.
Adopt a “customer service” mentality, make yourself available in-person whenever possible, and be open to questions.
5. Let Go
Allowing the Scrum team to oversee their own task-execution will save time and make everyone’s life easier.