Several discussions have been carried out by Agile professionals regarding the Scrum product owner role. What virtues make a product owner an “ideal” one? How should a PO delegate authority? Should it be as per traditional management models, or should a servant-leader role be employed? How should the person handle stakeholders when there are issues? There are many questions. The debate can keep on extending indefinitely since newer “scaled” versions of Scrum keep on coming, and the PO has to change his or her role based upon the traditional or scaled, version of Scrum the management decides to follow.
It would be more practical to concentrate upon some of the most important, and the most common, activities of a PO.
Suggested Scrum product owner responsibilities or roles
- Create the product backlog based on the product vision as seen by the stakeholders and project owners. Define important user stories having high business values in the product backlog so the “value” of the project is maintained at all times.
- Monitor and track all Scrum related activities in the project. The Agile product owner role may be difficult to play since an Agile Scrum project may be very demanding, and the PO may have to deal with market-related issues with the stakeholders and still monitor the development carried out by the development team. Balancing both the activities can be trying.
- Ensure the product backlog is properly groomed and maintained at all times. The backlog should be easily accessible by all team members, including the scrum master.
- Each product backlog item ought to be appropriately stated and defined in the backlog. The description of the story feature, its business value, and the acceptance criteria should not only be stated in the story index card but also explained “in depth” to the entire development team so they can develop effective user stories and shippable product features.
- To be always available when needed, and make it a point to remain present, as well as share knowledge, information, and expertise during the sprint reviews, sprint planning, and sprint retrospective meetings.
- The product owner responsibility should include defining “clear” and productive sprint goals whenever a sprint is to be “initiated”.
- Scrum product owner responsibilities should also consist of respecting and helping everyone “attached” with the project to ensure that the project is successful.
- Not influence the psyche or mindsets of team members regarding any issue – technical or otherwise – and encourage them to get “involved” with the project so better productivity can be achieved. The ideal Scrum product owner role may not prove to be so easy to “play” for every individual.