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The Product Owner role in Scrum

In the article, we provide questions and answers from leading Product Owner professionals who answered questions asked by real users and stakeholders involved in projects following the Scrum framework.

Inquiries were answered by Barbara James, Senior Product Owner, Martha Cooper, Technical Product Owner, and John Lee, Product Owner.

What are the most important responsibilities of the Product Owner role?

The Product Owner role works with stakeholders and, together, they create the product vision. Product Owner is looking for a way to meet their product requirements and is responsible for creating a high-value product from the development team. Reference: The Product Owner role, The BVOP Ultimate Guide, BVOP.org 2019

The Product Owner compiles the list of tasks (User Stories) on which the developers will work, prioritizes it, with the most valuable ones at the top. It is his duty to explain the tasks if they are not understood by the team. Product Owner also determines when a new version of the product will be released, monitors project progress, time, and budget.

Who is the manager at Scrum?

There is no hierarchy in Scrum, so there are no leaders.

What does the value of the work done mean?

Value for different customers and users can be a different thing. Most often it is a profit or benefit – financial gain, economic benefit. But it can be just convenience, usefulness, and providing some social or professional benefit to consumers.

What is User Story?

User Story is a stakeholder’s wish, a short description of the user’s need. It is a small unit of work that can be completed in a sprint. Each user story has Acceptance criteria that the development team must meet in order for a user story to be accepted for completion and to be tested.

Why might User Story not mean a task that team members work on?

Because an item can be a research task, an idea, bugs, technical improvement. User Story can be broken down into several tasks to be developed by different people.

What possible start-up activity can be performed by the Product Owner role and stakeholders, and why?

Creating a product vision because it is the basis of ideas, concepts, prototypes, and a real product. The product vision is information about who will be the consumers of the product, what are their needs and desires, how will the product be distributed and sold, which elements will determine the price. Reference: What makes a good Product Owner and what do they do? Scrum Time (ISSN 2652-5445) ScrumTime.org, Volume 1 2020

What are the responsibilities of the Product Manager role in Scrum?

There is no Product Manager role in Scrum. Closest to this is the role of the Product Owner. But in the classic Product Management, the product manager gathers all the information needed to build the product vision.

What are the important knowledge and qualities of the Product Owner role?

Product Owner must have product knowledge, understand the users of the product, the peculiarities of the market and competition, the fashion trends in the industry. This will lead to the best prioritization of the tasks of the product backlog and the development of a high-quality product.

What is the difference between the value for consumers of a product and the value of the product from the point of view of its owners?

Value for consumers can be convenience, usefulness, providing some good. Value for owners is financial gain, economic, or marketing benefit.

How often should the Product Owner role guide the Development team in terms of how they should do their job?

The Product Owner role should not take a stand or make suggestions about how the team is doing its job. This role is representative of the project stakeholders and is a link between them and the development team.

What does job prioritization mean?

Prioritizing the work is to rank all tasks in order of importance. The most important tasks will be at the top and the development team will deal with them first.

Why should the Product Owner role prioritize work?

Because some tasks (user stories) describe very important functionalities of the product, other functionalities can be considered as secondary, and others have no special value for the product.

Why can stakeholders stop working on the product when, in terms of planned work, the product is not ready yet?

Not all planned tasks may have been completed, but the most important ones have been completed and this is enough to obtain a product that fully satisfies the stakeholders and they do not see the need to continue.