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The Product Owner :

The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.  The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog. Product Backlog management includes:

·         Clearly expressing Product Backlog items;

·         Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions;

·         Optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs;

·         Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next; and,

·         Ensuring the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed.

The Product Owner may do the above work, or have the Development Team do it. However, the Product Owner remains accountable.  The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the desires of a committee in the Product Backlog, but those wanting to change a Product Backlog item’s priority must address the Product Owner. Product Owner creates the Vision for the product. Vision describes who the customers are, what customers need, and how these needs will be met.

For the Product Owner to succeed, the entire organization must respect his or her decisions. The Product Owner’s decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog. No one is allowed to tell the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements, and the Development Team isn’t allowed to act on what anyone else says. As a representative of the customer, the Product Owner is said to be the Voice of Customer.

Skills of a Product Owner

Choosing a right product owner is crucial for any Scrum Project. Following are some of the characteristics expected from the Product Owner

·         Visionary : Product owner should be able to envision the final product.

·         Doer : Product owner should also be a doer – that means, he should work with the team to get the final product ready.

·         Product Owner should be a Leader and Team Player

·         Communicator : The product owner must be an effective communicator and negotiator. The Product Owner is the Voice of the customer and therefore he should communicate customer needs and requirements and bridge the gap between the customer and the team. This may mean saying NO sometimes to the customer.

·         Empowered and Committed : The Product owner must have enough authority and the right level of management sponsorship to lead the development effort and to align to stakeholders.

Available and Qualified : The Product Owner must be available and qualified to do a great job. Being the product owner is usually a full-time job. If the product owner is over worked then the product progress will suffer resulting in a substandard product.