The job of the product owner (PO) is more and more emphasized in companies working in agile methodology. The product owner has an important role in scrum.
Literally, the Product Owner (PO) is responsible for the product. His mission is to maximize the value of the product by delivering maximum value. He is also the representative of the stakeholders (business, users, etc.) and the developers. He is the sole decision-maker on the value of the product and has the final say on prioritization.
The question remains: what defines a good product owner?
When you ask several people what a good product owner looks like, the answers are diverse.
Scrumguides.org, describes the PO role as follows: “The product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the development team.“
Based on this definition, it is possible to highlight some characteristics to be a good PO.
The product owner must always have the customer or end user in mind. This is one of the most important things that a PO brings to the Scrum team.
He always thinks about what the customer or end user needs and how he can integrate his team to meet the customer’s need. The PO is always asking questions to bring value to the product he is working on:
- What solves this need?
- What are the next most important requirements to implement?
- What are the unanswered questions that need to be solved and integrated into the team so that they can make a more effective product?
The product owner must be someone who is available to stakeholders, customers, the development team and the scrum master. Usually, teams work in two-week sprints. The members of his team should not find it difficult to get in touch with him because this could have a negative impact on the result of the sprint and this could affect the deliverables.
Collaboration and teamwork
The PO does not work alone, he is part of a team and this is essential for the success of the product and the optimization of its value.
As a product owner, it is important to understand the requirements, set up a framework to interact with the stakeholders. The PO must be honest with the stakeholders, therefore, he/she must engage them in conversations and keep them informed of the progress of the work done by the development team. In addition, the PO must ensure frequent delivery of a functional product, which is why he/she must constantly collaborate with stakeholders to ensure their complete satisfaction by gathering regular and effective feedback.
The PO must also interact regularly via the various agile ceremonies with the development team, the scrum master and the UX/UI designer to evolve the product and create a common understanding of the work to be done.
The product owner has to make decisions on a daily basis about what to include in the product backlog, how to prioritize user stories and how to communicate priorities to the team.
For each problem he faces, the PO must go through the decision-making stages, from identifying the problem to solving it and implementing it. He or she must validate these decisions with iterative results.
Communication is an important skill for the product owner. He must ensure effective communication between the development team and the stakeholders around the product, clarify the objective of the sprint, the elements of the product backlog, understand and respect the capacity of the team and collect feedback on the product from the stakeholders.
For example, the product owner may find himself in a situation where he will have to say “NO” to stakeholders for certain features and he should do so with confidence and explain why.
A PO should be open and effective when communicating with stakeholders and have language that is appropriate to the person he or she is communicating with.
As a product owner, it is important to have the courage and ability to step up when things get tough. You need to collaborate to minimize the negative and be able to mediate when there are issues within the team.
Maximize the value and quality of the product
Finally, the product owner is responsible for creating and maximizing the value of the team’s work while being the interface between the stakeholders and the development team. They must constantly inspect what can be done better by revisiting the product strategy and openly adapt to changes that come their way. They need to have an experimentation and continuous learning mentality.
Are you a product owner looking for an exciting and challenging assignment?