Agile Product Owner

Agile Product Owner

What’s the Product Owner role in Scrum?

In Scrum the Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of a product, by managing and expressing business and functional expectations for a product to the Development Team(s). 

The Product Owner is responsible for managing the Product Backlog and the incremental development of the product while maximising the business value. NOTE: that including a business value alongside issues in JIRA is normally missed by many companies. It’s not a default field within the JIRA setup, which may be why Product Owners can forget to include it. However, when reading Essential Scrum and the Scrum Guide you will see that adding business value to each feature or issue is a key requirement. It helps you to organise your backlog and ensure you address the top business value items first.

Product Backlog task a Product Owner has primary responsibility for include: 

  • Clearly detailing Product Backlog items; 
  • Product Backlog Prioritisation to achieve goals and missions; 
  • Defining and organising development work by business value; 
  • Ensure the Scrum Team have visibility of the product backlog and makes it transparent, and clear to all what will work on next; 
  • Communicate openly, with the Development team, to ensure they have sufficient information to deliver items in the Product Backlog

The Development Team can also manage the product backlog but it is the Product Owner who ultimately is accountable. 

The Product Owner represents the desires of the customer, a single business owner or a larger group of key stakeholders. Any prioritisation change request for an item in the backlog must be agreed by the Product Owner before it is changed, this is also the case for the development team.

The Product Owner’s decisions are visible through the order items are presented in the Product Backlog and no-one can force the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements or priorities. 

For the Product Owner to succeed, the entire organization must respect the authority of the role.

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