Myth- Busting With Us! (8 Misconceptions About Product Owners)

Misconceptions About Product Owners

Digital items are everywhere; you may find them at banks, colleges, shops, and even gyms. And that’s partly thanks to the product owner function, which involves making many technical decisions to transform user requirements for digital objects into finished products.

“I am the product owner to save time; just assume I am always right!”

Nearly 20 years after the scrum book was published, many misconceptions surround the product owner position.

What distinguishes a product owner from a product manager? Although there is considerable overlap, the phrases are synonymous. Product manager and product owner responsibilities differ, nevertheless.

Think again if you believed that all product owners needed to do was offer an app or other digital platform.

Outside the local team, this function has meaningful interactions and obligations that involve working with product management, customers, business owners, and other stakeholders.

Utilize this guide to learn more about the product owner and prepare yourself for the myth-busting that will follow!

Who is a Product Owner?

Are you curious as to what a product owner does? According to scrum techniques, a “Product Owner” is a business or critical user team member.

One of the most contentious positions in product development is this one. Even the question of whether the position belongs in product management is debatable.

To reach the desired outcome that a product development team intends to accomplish, the product owner plays a role in managing the product backlog.

You need top product management software like Chisel to manage a product backlog effectively. Check it out today. 

A scrum team member in charge of the project’s output is called a product owner. By overseeing and improving the product backlog, the product owner aims to maximize a product’s value.

The product owner is an individual, not an entire group.

The whole burden and ownership of outlining and ranking user needs fall on the product owner. The product owner must speak with the development team to discuss the product features that will get implemented.

Some businesses view the position as tactical and task-oriented, effectively acting as the team’s ringleader as it moves through its to-do list.

Product owners are more strategic in other companies. The position entails communication between the development team responsible for carrying out the product manager’s vision and the development team.

The entire organization needs to accept the decisions of product owners for them to succeed. These choices are in the product backlog’s content and hierarchy and the inspectable increment during the sprint review.

With multiple, conflicting, or no direction regarding what to construct, product development teams face difficulties that the product owner role would address as part of the scrum framework.

Roles and Responsibilities:

If a job title is more commonly misinterpreted than “product owner,” we’d like to see it.

At the center of every development cycle are the product owners. But what pursuits do they pursue?

  • Consider the product owner to be the individual who supports the product, facilitates product decisions, and has the last word regarding the product.
  • Although managing and organizing the product backlog is frequently where product owners focus their time, it is not necessarily the most critical activity. It makes it easier to ensure that the group operates according to the product management team‘s strategic aims and goals.
  • The agile product owner serves as the team’s focal point and develops development projects’ objectives and visions utilizing their high-level perspective. Despite the flexible and frequently quick-paced nature of agile product development, having a product owner with a higher perspective ensures that the team retains a unified vision.
  • Product owners make sure that each user story satisfies the appropriate acceptance criteria and is “ready” for development to begin.
  • Prioritizing needs is another important responsibility of the product owner. To put it another way, they must balance the three factors of scope, budget, and time, balancing priorities in light of the demands and goals of all parties involved. 

To decide how and when to build each iteration and product component, the product owner assesses elements of the project having flexibility and those that don’t as the project progresses.

  • The product owner must ensure that they are taking part in all phases of the product development process once the fundamental elements are in place, including the vision, product backlog, and prioritizing. The team and the product owner will take part in the ceremonies. This job may be active during some traditions, such as planning or backlog grooming.
  • Product owners must comprehend their market and customers’ needs to be beneficial in converting their company’s strategic plan into the appropriate execution processes.

Chisel is the perfect software for product managers who want to create unique products that meet their customers’ needs and expectations. With Chisel, you can easily manage your product backlog, prioritize features, and craft a product that your target audience will love.

Chisel’s Feedback Portal enables you to get feedback on product features you are working on. 

  • Working with product managers to understand what issues they hope to address with the product, how consumer needs or wishes have shaped their product strategy, and what the team considers a successful outcome are frequent steps in this process.
  • The main conduit for information between teams and stakeholders is the product owner. As a result, they must be skilled communicators, ensuring that all critical choices and strategies have the support of stakeholders and that the developers have access to clear instructions and deliverables.
  • The development team may be unsure of a specific assignment while working on stories and other activities throughout a sprint. They might not comprehend, for instance, why a user narrative requests that the product functionality is in a certain way. 
  • The development team should consult the product owner for advice and solutions in these situations. For these reasons, the product owner needs to be reachable by the development team and ready to answer their inquiries immediately.

Types of Product Owners:

Did you know there were various product owners? You can find out more about them right here!

Feature Owner and Component Owner:

A feature owner is a person who controls a feature that users can interact with, such as the ability to edit or save a word document. An architecture building block, such as a payment service or user interface layer, is owned by a component owner. Owners of components frequently need advanced technical knowledge.

Owners of features and components are in charge of maximizing the value their parts and components generate while ensuring that doing so does not jeopardize the value creation of the product. It includes outlining how they work, working with development teams, participating in product discovery and strategy work, and assisting with feedback and data evaluation.

The feature and component owners do asset decision-making, describing, ranking, and validating the parts and components.

The Scribe:

The scribe oversees the product backlog and converts stakeholder demands into developer-friendly, actionable user stories. Business analysts and requirements engineers frequently fill this role with approval from a steering committee or project management office.

They only really have the power to collect the wishes of the most critical stakeholders and direct the developers to carry them out during product development.

Platform Owner:

A Platform Owner shares many of the same duties as a scrum product owner, with one crucial exception: instead of managing a product, the platform owner owns the platform by maximizing its benefits. Such as reducing the time-to-market and development costs of the products produced.

In essence, the platform that a platform owner manages is similar to the product. To effectively connect with the users, who are the members of the product team that produce their products utilizing the platform, the platform owner must be technically proficient on the forum.

The Proxy:

The proxy carries out similar duties as the scribe but with a little more power. They might choose which products to put on the product backlog and how to arrange the various items, for instance. They must also decide when to allow clients to purchase product increments.

It’s also crucial to remember that stakeholders must have the proxy’s consent if they ever wish to modify the team’s focus on product development. Of course, any adjustments to the roadmap or the strategy are also subject to this.

However, they do not have the last word over the money for product development and product vision.

Portfolio Owners:

Like platform owners, a distinct function might get referred to as the portfolio owners. These owners are often referred to as “product portfolio managers” because of their greater responsibility in managing a single product and a variety of products. 

Their job demands them to work closely with the product owners who oversee the portfolio’s items and actively manage them.

The Sponsor:

The product owner that oversees the money in an agile process is known as a sponsor, and they can hire more or fewer developers depending on the demands of their product.

IT or business managers take up the sponsor position in the scrum product teams. They specify the tasks the development team must do and have a say in the final product.

If your product is successful, the sponsor may increase the size of your development team to allow for greater scalability.

Let’s Debunk the Myths Together:

The job of the product owner is frequently misunderstood and misused.

Myth: Each development team has one product owner.

Fact: No matter how many development teams are working on a project, there is only one product owner for that product.

Myth: The product owner ensures that all parties are happy.

Fact: It’s a proven fact that stakeholders can be strong, influential people. If a product does not address a particular user issue, yield a tangible benefit, or assist users in achieving a specific objective, it will never be a long-term success.

Although internal stakeholders like marketing, sales, and support are crucial to the success of a product’s launch, it would be foolish to try to win them over by agreeing to all of their suggestions and demands. 

In worst-case scenarios, a product that implements the needs of the stakeholders but ineffectively addresses those of the users would be produced.

Myth: A committee can serve as the product owner.

Fact: Nope! There is only ever one product owner. Consider it like a funnel where the product owner distributes work to the team in a sequence that must get completed. The voice of the work reaching the team only comes from one individual. Six people putting their effort into the funnel is not what we want. Only if you have several goods can you have several product owners.

Myth: The product owner has to write the user stories/product backlog items.

Fact: The product owner may write it or ask the development team to do it, but they are both still responsible.

Despite not being a fundamental component of the scrum, user stories are well-liked since the creation is from the customer’s viewpoint. However, the backlog may take any form.

Myth: The effectiveness of the team is up to the product owner.

Fact: If the members of an agile development team can consistently achieve the set objectives and produce software that provides excellent user experience and demonstrates the desired quality, they are doing their jobs well. 

As a self-managing team, they must plan the work together, decide how the work gets carried out, monitor its progress, settle any conflicts that may arise, and maintain a sustainable pace to stay motivated and productive.

However, as the product owner, you must put the product first, not the team or the process. Usually, that’s difficult enough.

Avoid the error of taking on the scrum master’s duties for an extended amount of time since this will force you to either overlook some of your primary responsibilities or put your health at risk, neither of which is ideal, of course.

Myth: The person conducting product discovery and consumer interviews is the product owner.

Fact: The development team should be heavily involved in the discovery process to fully comprehend why they are building the product and what challenges they are trying to solve. The product owner does not necessarily need to be the only one learning about customer concerns.

Myth: The product owner isn’t in the retrospective. 

Fact: Include a product owner in the retrospective! Recall that they are a member of the scrum team! They are frequently left out because they disagree with the team and the team doesn’t want them there. But if a conflict arises, how will it be resolved if the product owner isn’t present at the retrospective?

Myth: The person who should be making decisions about the product is the product owner.

Fact: Every day, the product’s development team makes technical judgments. The product owner is still responsible even if they give the development team full or partial control over the outcome.

Putting It All Together:

We believe the term “product owner” has become pretty clear through this post. We hope this also answers all of your questions.

Got the talent and enjoy keeping busy?

Then perhaps this is the position for you.

A product owner has a full-time job and greater responsibilities. Although it might be demanding, managing the conflicting priorities and variety of personnel needed to complete the project is also enjoyable and challenging.

Crafting great product requires great tools. Try Chisel today, it's free forever.