Role and responsibilities of product owner
Who is a Product Owner?
A product owner is a member of the Agile Team who is responsible for ensuring a positive output for a product. A product owner does not necessarily have to be a technical role. He/she can be described as a person who is a primary point of contact on behalf of the product development team
A product owner is different from a product manager and a senior product manager. A product manager is responsible for creating strategies and monitoring the product from the beginning to the end of its development. On the other hand, a senior product manager is responsible for leading a product manager and coordinating with other teams such as marketing, sales, etc. The senior product manager and the owner do have one task in common. They both are responsible for creating and implementing product strategies that follow the company’s vision.
Owning a product involves many things. One has to face tasks, roles, and responsibilities as a product owner. A product owner has a similar perspective.
As Francis Brown said, “At the heart of every product person, there’s a desire to make someone’s life easier or simpler. If we listen to the customer and give them what they need, they’ll reciprocate with love and loyalty to your brand.”
Key Skills of Product Owner
There are some skills that every product owner should have.
- Analytical Skills: A product owner should have the ability to analyze and collect information and share it accordingly to create a valuable product in the market. Good analytical skills help a product owner to make sound decisions in a problematic situation and also prioritize the tasks according to their need.
- Communication Skills: It is of utmost importance that a product owner has good communication skills. Scrum Guides describes that one of the product owner’s tasks is communicating the product goals and discussing the product backlog items effectively. This skill will help the product owners have a good relationship with the team and the customers.
- Project Management Skills: Project management skills are something that every product owner should have. This skill allows a product owner to apply the knowledge, other skills, techniques, and tools to create a product, achieve the goals set by the team, and also to meet the requirements of a project.
- Leadership Skills: A product owner should be a good leader. Leadership skills help a product owner to make effective decisions, not crack under pressure and lead the team in tough teams.
- Technical Skills: A product owner doesn’t need to have technical skills. But having technical knowledge about the product makes a product owner from good to better and from better to best. Some of the key technical skills that a product owner must have includes coding and designing, UX knowledge, knowledge of Scrum and agile software development, ability to use apps and tools, etc.
Roles & Responsibilities of Product Owner
The basic roles and responsibilities of product owner are:
1. Defining the Goal
Before starting a project, it is important to know the goals and objectives. The first and foremost role of a product owner is to define the goals and create a vision regarding the product and its development. A product owner should have a high perspective about the product as they need to communicate their visions to the stakeholders on a board and also to the customers and the development team. Having a product owner who is sure of what needs to be done and how to manage the tasks is significant for the team. It results in effective and fast agile product development. A product owner is also responsible for creating a product roadmap that will help the team at every step of product development.
2. Management of Product Backlog
A product owner with a clear vision also needs to ensure proper management of the backlogs of the product. Creating and managing a backlog is derived from the product roadmap developed by the product owner. The products in the backlog need to get updated from time to time depending on the latest trends in the market as well as the demands of the customers. A product owner should know all of this and upgrade the backlog according to the needs and requirements. The product owner should also ensure that the list of the backlog is accessible to the stakeholders on the board so they know the status of the project and also add inputs if they wish it.
3. Anticipation of Market Needs
One of the strategic plans for product development is understanding the market needs and using them to your advantage. It is not the role but the responsibility of a product owner to know what is going on in the market: the new trends, the developments, and the needs of the customers. In this way, a product owner can evaluate product development at each step and solve problems if they arise. Additionally, knowing what the customer needs helps a product owner to create a customer journey mapping that will help in providing the requirement at every step.
4. The primary point of contact
One of the roles of the product owner is to be a primary point of contact for the customers and the development team. A product owner can essentially be defined as a liaison and communicator between the stakeholders and the development team and also between the company and the client. It is the responsibility of a product owner to keep the stakeholders and the clients updated on the progress of the project. He/she also needs to communicate effectively with the team so the team knows whom to contact if they get stuck anywhere.
5. Actively participate in meetings
A product owner should attend the daily Scrum meetings as these meetings provide the product owner with a chance to inspect and adapt to the project. The Scrum meeting also helps a product owner to understand the perspective of the development team.
At the end of the day in the simplest terms, someone has to be strategic and long-term focused and has to be boots on the ground tactically focused to be a product owner. The product manager may be focused on getting the work that ladders up to the strategy done. A senior product manager is more likely to be focused on leading the product managers. If you try to do it all you get into a world where something has to give in terms of quality. A product owner takes the quantity and develops it into quality.
The article discusses the roles and responsibilities of a product owner. A product owner is a person who is responsible for providing a successful product in the market. Some primary key skills are a must-have for any product owner. The skills are analytical, communication, project management, leadership, etc. Though it is helpful for a product owner to have technical knowledge, it is not mandatory. The main role and responsibilities of a product owner are to have a proper vision of the project and its development, manage the backlogs, understand the trends in the market and customer needs.