Hints from Scrum Master - Product Owner - role & responsibilities

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It may be helpful for You to first read articles about Agile and Scrum Framework (you can find both in Sailing Byte’s knowledge base too).

Product Owner (PO)  is one of the most, if not the most crucial role in Scrum framework.  His proper installment/actions/decisions can result in smooth progress on product development. On the contrary if this role is not properly understood and implemented it can generate a huge amount of stress that will finally hit hard on developers, product’s stakeholders and Product Owner himself. 

Product Owner’s biggest responsibility is to maximize the value of a product that is a result of work done by the Scrum Team (Developers+Product Owner+Scrum Master=Scrum Team).

There are many ways to approach this responsibility. Each organization/product owner/scrum team has to find their own, most suitable way of “doing things'  for as long as at the end of a day Product Owner is solely responsible for that product’s value maximization (solely means that there is no such thing as two Product’s Owners! There is only one crown for the king of one product!).

Product's development is in essence a constant stream of decisions,trade offs and tasks that have to be properly addressed, prioritized, sometimes delegated and finally resolved. (or intentionally dropped as not important). To manage that process Product Owner creates and maintains one Product Backlog for which he is fully responsible.

Product Backlog should not be a “bucket” for things that bother only the Product Owner. It actually should be an easily accessible  “mirror” that reflects the current state of Product Development. In that “mirror” every member of Scrum Team have to see clearly and exactly:

  • what is a Product Goal that we want to achieve ? (direction)
  • what are the important Backlog Items that have to be addressed by developers in near future? (prioritization) ;
  • are those most important items described in a matter that gives a chance for developers to create value for a product ? (clarity);

Success or failure of Product Owner is tightly connected to :

1) ability to make any decision connected with Product Development (even the wrong one) while holding accountability for those decisions; (being properly empowered by organization);

2) level of understanding Scrum as an Agile framework by every stakeholder & organization member;
(education about Agile / Scrum framework is one of the main Scrum Master’s responsibilities, ask him for help :D ) ;

3) being able to delegate some responsibilities while holding accountability for end results;
(at certain complexity level it may be not possible for Product Owner to do everything on his own, that's why he need other specialists to help him); 

Examples of responsibilities/tasks that could be delegated by Product Owner:  

  • research that is needed for proper Backlog Item(s) specification ;
  •  advision in prioritization of Backlog Items;
  •  Business Analysis of certain Product Development scenarios;
    (it may result in creating a better Product Goal)

    etc.

If you want to know more about Agile frameworks in software development have a look at a few articles about them in our Knowledge Base !


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