Technology

Who is a Product Owner?

Aleksandra Rajczyk
Aleksandra Rajczyk

Tech startups work within various methodologies. However, there are some patterns that are proven to work effectively. One of them is developing products through the Scrum Framework. An essential part of it is the Product Owner.

The scrum framework has three components: Scrum Master, Development Team, and Product Owner. Usually, PO is the leader in the development process. It’s usually the innovator who came up with the idea for the digital product in the first place. However, more and more organizations hire a dedicated person called a Product Owner. However, who is actually a Product Owner? What is their role? Keep reading to find out.

Who is a Product Owner?

A Product Owner is a scrum development role for someone who is responsible for working with the user group to decide on the features that should be included in the product launch. Very often the PO has to collaborate closely with both customers and the development team. In consequence, the PO decides what features are needed in the product. The Product Owner in scrum is typically a project’s key stakeholder. They should have a vision of what they want to build and then they should share and convey the vision to the team. 

This is crucial in all software development projects. One can also say that the Product Owner is kind of a lead user of a system. They should be a combination of product management skills, a solid understanding of users and the market place including competition, as well as understanding future trends. Of course, the Project Owner’s role may differ depending on products the team develops but one thing is always fixed – a Product Owner is a person with a clear, detailed vision for what is to be built.

What kind of person should a good Product Owner be

Most CEOs say that they always look for individuals with certain skills to work as a Product Owner. A person handling such an important position should be available and business savvy. The best Product Owners are committed to what they do so that they can build the best product possible. Engagement is key there. A Product Owner should understand the market well in order to make good decisions. Also, which is extremely important in the tech industry, the person should have outstanding communication skills. A Product Owner works closely with key stakeholders throughout the company or can be one of them as mentioned previously. Communicating different messages to different people is required on a daily basis.

The role of the Product Owner can be passed on during the development process. We have been working with one of our Clients from the UK for over two years now. At the beginning of our cooperation, the role of PO was filled by a person from the Client’s team. However, through working together, BinarApps team built the level of trust needed to become the PO. Today, the Product Owner is one of our developers who has been working on the project since day one. It was a natural progression that didn’t need too many formal actions.

We respect every Client who prefers to keep the title of Product Owner to themselves and we certainly won’t push anyone to give it up. It’s only through mutual understanding that these type of responsibility transmission can be achieved. In saying that, we are always open to take on the role of Product Owner, especially when working with non-technical innovators. 

What are the scrum PO responsibilities?

Let’s start with a short explanation of what’s actually a scrum. In short, scrum is a framework for project management. It emphasizes teamwork, accountability, and iterative progress toward a defined goal. Scrum has been mainly used in the software development industry. However, it’s been more and more popular in other fields as well. The scrum sprint, on the other hand, is a time-boxed iteration of a continuous cycle. Within a sprint, certain tasks have to be completed by the team. 

The sprint usually starts with a planning meeting where a Product Owner plays a huge role. They prioritize the requirements to the development team. They also prioritize the tasks from the backlog so that the team knows what to work on during the sprint. Although the Product Manager prioritizes the product backlog, it is still the role of the development team to choose the amount of work they believe they can do during one sprint. However, a Product Owner should motivate the team with elevating goals along with the Scrum Master. Even if the team knows what they are capable of, their Product Owner should help them at any stage of the development process. If developers have any questions regarding details on the development process, it is the Product Owner’s task to reply and clarify. 

Also, a Product Owner is kind of a bridge between the development team and other stakeholders and the main link between the scrum team and the customer. They are fully responsible for managing the product backlog by communicating the vision with the team. Not only do they decide on what goes into the backlog, but also decide on the priority of each item. This is also called product backlog grooming. Having no Product Owner in an organization might result in delays and mess around the backlog and the product development itself.

Conclusion

As you can see, a Product Owner might be one of the most important people in scrum development. They are responsible for looking after a product for an extended period of time and they are accountable for achieving product success. To sum up, these are their key responsibilities:

  • Defining the features of the app or product – both planned and already developed.
  • Prioritizing product features, as well as adjusting them so that they best meet users’ needs. The features should be also prioritized after each sprint or iteration.
  • Accepting work results or rejecting them if they haven’t been done well.
  • Getting in touch with customers and users so that they know the current status. 
  • Getting customers’ and users’ feedback. It can be used and turned into ideas and improvements for the next sprints.

Scrum is the base of everyday work at BinarApps. We help Product Owners as the development team or provide our experts to fill the role of the Product Owner on behalf of the stakeholders. We’re agile and open to challenges – schedule a talk to see what we can do for you.

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