Who is a Product Owner ?

The Scrum framework has some important team member roles and one of those roles is the Product Owner.

The Scrum product owner is any stakeholder who has an in depth understanding of the stakeholders requirements and who has the ability to communicate those requirements to other members of the scrum team.

The stakeholders requirements are used to create the product backlog and it forms the project’s foundation, so it is important that the right person is chosen to be responsible for identifying and prioritising those requirements.

The product owner is usually a senior executive in the organization who can make decisions in relation to the project. In order to do that, that need to really understand the organization, the business domain, the stakeholders and the application.

But if the application is highly technical and requires some technical expertise, then the product owner might be a senior technical team member.

One of the product owner’s responsibilities is to prioritize the product backlog in the sprint planning meeting. But even though the product owner might be responsible for the prioritising the tasks, the other team members who are actually fulfilling the tasks would select how many of those prioritized tasks they can complete in that sprint.

This is because the scrum team members are in a better position to what amount of work they can accomplish in a sprint.

While the scrum master might be responsible for keeping the team motivated, the product owner should ensure that they do not add new prioritised tasks to list during the sprint because that would lead to confusion and frustration for the team members.

While new requirements can be added to the product backlog list, the product owner should not be prioritise them in the middle of a sprint.

There are some skills that effective product owner should have and these skills include availability, business knowledge and communication skills.

The product owner needs to be available to attend the numerous scrum meetings which include the sprint planning, daily stand ups, sprint reviews, sprint retrospectives and product backlog meetings.

The product owner also needs to have the necessary business knowledge to be able to identify the required product features. In order to do that they need to understand the business, the customer and the market.

The product owner also has to have effective communication skills in order to explain what they want to the scrum team. They might also need to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders to gather the necessary requirements so being able to communicate effectively is key.

While the product owner might just be a member of the scrum team, it is a very important role so the individual has to be carefully chosen and that chosen individual needs to understand the responsibilities of the role.