What is a product owner?
The first thing to note about the role of product owner is that the name can be a little misleading. The product owner is not someone who owns the product being developed. Nor do they own the team making the product or the business hired to upgrade the product.
The role of product owner is a Scrum team role. It hails from this AGILE framework and can be defined by the Scrum guide as someone, “accountable for maximising the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team.” The guide defines the product owner’s responsibilities as the following:
- Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal;
- Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items;
- Ordering Product Backlog items; and,
- Ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible and understood.
As the role of product owner traces back specifically to AGILE practices of project management and software development, you will most commonly find this role within an AGILE team.
product owner responsibilites
A product owner has responsibility for day-to-day activities, and they are certainly in the thick of things. They have a consistent role within the development process that focuses mainly on customer needs and product strategy and includes the entire team. They liaise with all layers of product management and all sorts of people that make up a project. Very often they work with internal stakeholders and external stakeholders to coordinate the project on these various layers.
Product owners certainly do not have an easy job role. They are pulling together lots of different aspects to provide both a cohesive structure for a development team and the desired product outcome for customers.
Some product owner responsibilities you might expect to see on an everyday basis include:
- Listening to customer feedback, identifying customer needs and collecting user stories
- Communicating between the customer and development team, and then representing external stakeholders and internal stakeholders
- Managing the product backlog
- Assisting the development team stay on track with the product roadmap
- Outlines a product vision and helps the team achieve the said vision
Overall, a product owner is a busy member of the team with a huge impact on business value. They are critical to both the day-to-day functioning of a team working towards a certain goal, and they are the glue that holds many different sides of the equation together.