The Product Owner in Scrum

The Product Owner’s primary job is to deliver the product goal/vision. The product owner manages and represents the interests of the stakeholders and customers. The product owner ensures that what the stakeholders/customers want (the product vision) is being executed by the team.

The product owner is the one person ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the project. Product owners decide what is developed, when it is developed, and whether that which has been developed meets expectations.

The product owner does this by working with stakeholders to understand the functionality of the system under development. Using this information, the product owner (sometimes with the customer) describes small chunks of functionality for the team to deliver. These descriptions of functionality form the product backlog, and are called product backlog items (PBIs).

Scrum Product Owner Responsibilities

Product owners have the following responsibilities:

  • Establish, nurture, and communicate the product vision to the team and the other stakeholders
  • Manage the project return on investment and project financials
  • Make decisions about when to create an official release (with customer and stakeholder input).

Scrum Product Owner Characteristics

Good product owners typically share these characteristics:

  • Able to determine what customers mean by listening to what they ask for
  • Able to bring stakeholders and customer to convergence on features and functionality
  • Has product management expertise
  • Has basic financial experience
  • Has a background in the industry of the application under development