Roles and Responsibilities of a Product Owner in Agile

Product Owner is one of the main roles in Agile projects. But what does a Product Owner do?

The Product Owner is the voice of the customer in the Scrum Team. The Product Owner is typically a product manager or a business analyst and has a vision of what the product should do and how it should behave.

Here, we list some common responsibilities of a PO in Agile.

  • Single person responsible for maximizing the return on investment
  • ROI of the development effort
  • Responsible for product vision
  • Constantly re-prioritizes the Product Backlog
  • Clarifies questions on requirements
  • Accepts or rejects each product increment
  • Decides whether to ship
  • Decides whether to continue development
  • Considers stakeholder interests
  • May contribute as a team member

The Product Owner sits in between of the senior management team, such as the CEO and CIO, and the Scrum Teams and is responsible for ensuring business requirements are met efficiently and effectively.

Through constant monitoring of the product backlog, the Product Owner can re-prioritize the items based on the business needs.

During each Sprint, the Scrum Team feedback to the Product Owner who can then decide whether to ship the product to the customers or to make further refinements before the product goes out.

By having a clear vision of the product, the Product Owner defines the Acceptance Criteria for each backlog item and is the best person to address any questions the Scrum team have about the backlog items.

The Product Owner should also engage in User Acceptance Testing as the product is being developed to get an early insight of the product so that any amendments are done early in the development rather than later.

Should the Product Owner be a technical person?

In reality, the term Technical Product Owner describes a person, not a role.  Specifically, it describes a person who has a technical background and works on a technology product.  It does not mean that the Product Owner will actually need to perform any technical tasks, such as software architecting and coding. They are not actually developing the product—they are performing a Product Management role in close coordination with a Software Development Team, the Scrum Team.

For a company to get the most value from the role, Product Owner must focus on product management, not development. But some Product Owners need to understand the company’s technology at a deep level and interface with the Development Team in order to successfully lead the strategy for the product.