Product Owner

The product owner in a project is enabled and trusted to take all the day to day decisions on the project. The product owner role is assigned and advertised at the beginning of a project. It is someone who knows how to maximize the value of the product and the work of the development team. The owner is the sole person responsible for managing the product backlog (the project’s total “to do list”).

Definition of product backlog management 

  • Ordering the items (usually user stories) in the product backlog to best achieve the identified goals and mission
  • Ensuring the development team understands items in the product backlog to the level needed
  • Ensuring that the product backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the development team will work on next
  • Ensuring the agreed progress reports are provided to identified stakeholders
  • The product owner may do the above work, or have the scrum master / PM or the 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

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.