Agile professionals have often discussed what the exact role of a product owner should be in Scrum. What virtues should a product owner possess to be considered a “good” PO? The answers are many. And this is not surprising because Scrum is a framework, and its implementation in a project depends upon the requirements specific to the project. When requirements change, the role of the PO also changes. Therefore, it may not be possible to standardise the exact role a PO should play in a Scrum project.
A certain process flow remains common to almost all Scrum projects. The role of a product owner can be thought about in terms of what POs actually do in a typical Scrum project. Here are a few suggestions:
Common role or activities of a Scrum product owner
· Creating the product backlog as per the product vision seen by the stakeholders. Defining user stories having high business values in the backlog so the project “value” is constantly maintained.
· Monitoring and tracking all Scrum activities. The role of a product owner may be difficult to act since a project might be demanding, and the product owner may have to cater to market related issues and still monitor the work carried out by the team. Balancing both the aspects can prove to be trying.
· Make sure that the product backlog is kept refined at all times. Moreover, the product backlog should be accessible by the entire team.
· Each product backlog item “PBI” should be properly stated and defined in the product backlog. The story description, appropriate business value, and the acceptance criteria should be stated precisely in the story card and explained to the entire team so the team members can develop effective stories and develop shippable product features.
· To be available whenever needed, to remain present, and share information, knowledge, as well as expertise with other team members.
· The PO responsibility should also include defining productive sprint goals just before a sprint commences.
· A product owner’s responsibility should also include respecting and aiding everyone involved with the project and ensure the project is completed successfully.
· Not try to influence the mind-set, or psyche of the team members regarding any issues and encourage the team to get involved in the project to achieve better productivity.
The role of a product owner can be a difficult one to play. Since the PO owns the project on behalf of the stakeholders, he/she has certain responsibilities towards them. The PO is also responsible for conveying the product vision as seen by the investors to the entire Scrum team and ensures that the product is actually developed in accordance to the vision.