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3 Core responsibilities of a Product Owner

  • Sumeet Madan
  • Sep 7th 2020
Agilemania Blog
Agilemania Post

As per the Scrumguide the

“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the Product resulting from the work of the Development Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals."

The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog.

Product Backlog management includes:

Clearly expressing Product Backlog items;

Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions;

Optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs;

Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next; and,

Ensuring the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed.

The Product Owner may do the above work or have the Development Team do it. However, the Product Owner remains accountable.”

There are many responsibilities that a Product Owner carries during the Product Lifecycle, and as mentioned in Scrumguide, all these responsibilities the Product Owner can choose to delegate. As the Product Owner is accountable for the success of the Product, there are some core responsibilities that a Product Owner should keep as a core.

The three core responsibilities of the Product Owner those should not choose to delegate are:

1. Product Backlog Management:

It is a living artifact, the Product backlog change. It evolves hence needs to reorder continuously. As a Product Owner, one needs to ensure the complete transparency on Product Backlog by ordering it to reflect the most recent insights and making it available to the Scrum team and Stakeholders. It also includes adding or removing an item for the Product Backlog and accepting or rejecting the work done during the Sprint

2. Product Vision and Strategy:

In Scrum, the Product Owner is one person who is accountable for the success of the Product. Hence, the Product Owner creates, owns, and manages the Product vision and creates a strategy for the Product that includes budgeting, marketing, customers, operations, and release.

Product vision explains the purpose of a Product and what it aims to achieve or what problem does it solves for the customers and users. The Product vision describes a future state of the Product and what problems it tries to resolve or what ambitions it tries to fulfil.

A well-voiced vision helps motivate the Scrum team, stakeholders, customers, and it’s users. It also helps provide direction and focus. It supports the Product Owner to make choices about what to build and what not to build for the Product.

3. Product Value & Governance:

Holding the accountability for the Product Success, the Product Owner maximizes the Value of the Product. But what is the “VALUE”? The value is context-dependent and comes in different forms that may change over time. One can say that the value is time-dependent. The value can be defined and measured in different ways, but the most important is to steer on value. Evidence-Based Management is a good starting point to understand how to measure the value.

Agilemania Blog

Sumeet Madan

A Professional Scrum trainer (PST) from Scrum.org, SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC 4.5) and experienced Spotify consultant with over 14 years of rich experience in building people

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