Key Product Owner Responsibilities

The Key product owner takes the lead in many areas of product development. One day they will need to access their deep well of market knowledge to strategize and present their vision to stakeholders. Another day they will need to roll up their developer sleeves to help the team meet their goals during a sprint.

What is a product owner?

At the most basic level, a product owner is a leader responsible for maximizing the value of the products created by a scrum development team.

But to do this, an agile product owner takes on several roles, including business strategist, product designer, market analyst, customer liaison, and project manager.

Some common responsibilities are:

Alignment on Vision

Product goal setting and the creation of a vision are the responsibility. The vision needs to be clearly communicated with all those involved in the product including stakeholders and the development team. This enables the vision to be used when making decisions on prioritization and direction.

Managing the Product Backlog

The product owner is responsible for the generation and management of the list of work to be completed by the development team. This involves writing product backlog items along with acceptance criteria and ordering them to achieve the product vision. By making the product backlog visible to all those involved with the development, the product owner optimizes work performed and ensures stakeholders understand the overall strategy and developmental roadmap.

The product backlog is the direct source of all remaining work to be completed during development. It is continually updated to ensure that the team is able to deliver the most important tasks iteratively and incrementally.

Owning the Finances

The product owner is accountable for good economic decision-making during development at the sprint, release, and product level. The iron triangle of scope, budget, time (and quality) can be traded in order to provide the best return on investment. The cost/benefit of each product backlog item can also be used to determine the ordering of work.

Prioritizing needs

Another role of the product owner is to prioritize needs. In other words, they must juggle the triangle of scope, budget, and time, weighing priorities according to the needs and objectives of stakeholders.

Anticipating client needs

The successful product owner will be an expert at understanding and anticipating the client’s needs to more effectively manage the development process.

Their deep market knowledge and communication skills allow them to anticipate problems or needs and address them.

Evaluating product progress at each iteration

The product owner is accountable for each stage of the development process and the final product. They take a primary role in inspecting and evaluating product progress through each iteration. The product owner makes the judgment call on the performance, deciding if the team needs to go back to the drawing board or if they can move on to the next steps.

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