Good product owner

What makes a good Product Owner?

The role of product owner (PO) is becoming increasingly important in companies working with agile methodologies. The PO plays 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 (company, users, etc.) and developers. He is the sole decision-maker on product value, and has the final say on prioritization.

The question remains: what makes a good product owner?

When you ask several people what a good product owner looks like, the answers are varied. 

Scrumguides.orgdescribes the role of the PO 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's possible to identify certain characteristics that make a good PO.

1. Customer satisfaction

The product owner must always have the customer orend-user in mind. This is one of the most important things a PO brings to theScrum team.

He's always thinking about what the customer or end-user needs, and how he can integrate his team to meet that need. The PO is always asking questions in order to bring value to the product he's working on:

  • What solves this need?
  • What are the next most important requirements?
  • What are the unanswered questions that need to be resolved and integrated into the team so that it can make a product more effective?

2. Be available

The product owner must be available to stakeholders, customers, the development team and the scrum master. Teams usually work in two-week sprints. Team members must not find it difficult to get in touch with the product owner, as this could have a negative impact on the sprint's outcome and deliverables. 

3. Collaboration and teamwork

The PO doesn't work alone, he's part of a team, and this is essential for the success of the product and theoptimization of its value.

As a product owner, it's important to understand needs, and to set up a framework for interacting with stakeholders. The PO needs to be honest with stakeholders, encouraging them to participate in conversations and keeping them up to date on the progress of the development team's work. In addition, the PO must ensure the frequent delivery of a functional product, which is why he or 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.

4. Decision decision

The product owner has to make day-to-day decisions about what to include in the product backlog, how to prioritize user stories and how best to communicate priorities to the team.

For each problem he faces, the PO must go through the decision-making stages, from problem identification to solution and implementation. These decisions must be validated by iterative results.

5. Know communicate

Communication is an important skill for the product owner. He or she must ensure effective communication between the development team and the stakeholders who revolve around the product, clarify the sprint objective, the elements of the product backlog, understand and respect the team's capacity and gather feedback on the product from stakeholders.

The product owner may, for example, find himself in a situation where he has to say "NO" to stakeholders for certain features, and he should do so with confidence and explain why.

A PO must be open and efficient when communicating with the people involved, and use language that is adapted to the person he or she is talking to.

6. Resolve conflicts

As a product owner, it's important to have the courage and ability to step up when the going gets tough. You need to collaborate to minimize the negative, and be able to mediate when problems arise within the team.

7. Maximize value and product quality

Finally, the product owner is responsible for creating and maximizing the value of the team's work, while acting as the interface between stakeholders and the development team. They must constantly inspect what can be done better by revisiting the product strategy, and openly adapt to any changes that come their way. They must have a mentality of experimentation and continuous learning.

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Article written by one of our consultants. 

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