What is a Product Owner? Roles and Responsibilities.

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What is a Product Owner?

A Product Owner (PO) is a member of an agile team next to the Scrum master and the development team. They are responsible for defining stories and prioritizing the Backlogs to pave the way for efficient execution of the whole development process.

The Product Owner is also responsible for maximizing the quality of work done by the team and ensuring that all the stories meet the user requirements and strictly adhere to the Definition of Done

A successful Product Owner must have skills such as being able to skillfully coordinate responsibilities of a cross-functional team to achieve necessary tasks. 

Roles of a Product Owner

The Product Owner acts as a liaison between the development team and the stakeholders as they are the ones who communicate with all the people involved in the project. 

The Product Owner is also responsible for effective Product Backlog management, which includes:

  • Developing and communicating the Product Goal to the whole team;
  • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items;
  • Ordering of the Product Backlog items; and,
  • Ensuring the Product Backlog is visible and understood to all the members.

While prioritizing the backlog, they need to keep in mind that the customer’s needs and aspirations are taken care of first and foremost.

The PO is also accountable for the Return of Investment (ROI). They need to verify the quality of the work done and must always be available for the development team in case of any ambiguity or problems. 

Challenges of a Product Owner

A Product Owner must be able to command respect from all their team members. For any successful Product Owner, it is imperative that the entire organization respects their decisions. These decisions are reflected in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog, and through the inspectable Increment at the sprint review.

The PO must be able to govern the properties of the product, set the priorities correctly based on user’s needs, maintain backlog, develop user stories, and assure the quality of the product is of the highest caliber. They are also held accountable for the success or failure of a product.

Balancing these various responsibilities could be a real challenge for any Product Owner. Often the Product Owner is misunderstood as the Product Manager. Thus, it is also important to clearly distinguish between the two roles so that there is no conflict and no one oversteps their jurisdiction.

The companies may however choose to slightly or completely alter the Project management methods while using the Agile approach varying the roles of the Product Owner accordingly.

FAQs

Q: How much does a Product Owner make?

A: According to the website Glassdoor.com, a Product Owner in the US makes about $99600 per year.

Q: What does a Product Owner do?

A: The Product Owner (PO) is responsible for defining user stories and prioritizing the Backlogs to pave the way for efficient execution of program priorities and simultaneously, maintain the conceptual and technical integrity of the product.

Q: Should the Product Owner attend the daily scrum meetings?

A: The Product Owner’s job is to make sure that the project and tasks are completed efficiently daily. The daily scrum meetings are the place where the Product Owner gets to know about the progress in the development of the product and give insights and suggestions on any tweaking they feel necessary.

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