In Agile software development methodology, the team members are assigned various roles. The Scrum framework for the agile development or testing methodology has the following roles as Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum Team and the project Stakeholders. All of these roles of scrum framework have their importance but in this article we are going to discuss in detail about the roles and responsibilities of the Product Owner.
A product owner is the person in the project team who has very clear vision about the product and has the capacity of converting his or her product vision into precise agile user stories which can be prioritized as backlog into the sprint within the team. The team estimates the effort to complete the backlog within the sprint within a predefined deadline. The duration of a Scrum sprint varies from one week to four weeks depending on the size of backlogs.
I would say that the Product owner is the one who initiates the process of the Scrum framework after writing the user stories which has the description about the product and the customer requirements. These user stories has the clear cut summary about the product vision which can be easily understood by the development and the testing which can use this information to provide the work effort estimate.
Roles and responsibilities of best Product Owner:
Apart from writing the user stories, the product owner has the following roles and responsibilities in order to become the best Product Owner.
1) Leadership Qualities:
The Product owner has to play a leadership role to resolve the doubts raised by the development or testing team in order to meet the goal of building the final product as per customer expectations. As such, the product owner is not much committed to the process but the vision of the end product and always should be in the loop to verify that the communication of the requirement is in sync with the agile user story.
2) Team growth:
The product owner is the key person who narrates the customer requirements about the product. Based on these requirements the scrum team decides on the required skill set to implement these requirements. Also, it is not always necessary to hire a person from the market but the existing team member can get the training and contribute to the team knowledge base.
3) Product Vision:
A product owner is expected to have a final product vision, the nature of the customer and their feedback, market research and the other required knowledge of the other stakeholder’s product vision. All of these qualities will help him to know well about the feature of the product which he can well narrate into the agile user stories.
4) Job Experience:
Counting the years of work experience is not the only criteria to decide for a team member to become a product owner. Instead, the learning from the current project about the sprint, project release and deliverables can make a product owner as the best Product owner.
5) Communication skills:
I would say that there is no compromise for the communication skills for product owner role. It is must have quality with the role of the product owner as the communication gap between the project team and the customer may lead to the project loss and the delay in the final product delivery.
6) An Agile Person:
Yes working in an agile team, it is mandatory for the product owner to be agile himself. In other words, the best owner should be flexible in accommodating requirement changes or improvements from customer in his user stories in order to reach the best solution for the problem.
7) Respect the Scrum Culture:
The best product owner respects the Scrum culture and attends daily scrum and retrospective meetings regularly. This helps to keep everyone in the agile team including the product in sync with the progress of the current sprint.
8) Concrete Guidelines:
The product owner initiates the process after capturing the agile user stories. Therefore, he is responsible for giving the initial guidelines to the team and prepares the detailed roadmap to keep everyone on track within the team.
Distinct responsibilities for the Product owner:
Creation and maintenance of the Product backlog:
The product owner writes the user stories which can be divided into tasks and sub-tasks and assigned accordingly to the team for the current sprint.
Prioritize the product backlog items into a sprint:
The product owner writes multiple user stories which are nothing but the customer requirements. These stories are further split into the number of backlog items which are prioritized for their completion into a sprint. The product owner plays a very important role in the product backlog prioritization as he is very close to the customer.
Assistance to the Scrum master in organizing meetings:
The product owner the scrum master assists in all aspects and prospects in organizing daily review and retrospective meetings.
Joining Sprint planning meeting:
The product owner plays a key role in the sprint planning as he outlines the product backlog items based on their priority.
Clear cut communication for the customer requirements to the Agile team:
The product owner should about to communicate well the customer requirements and the changes in future.
Gathering product details from participants or customers:
The product always remain in constant touch with the customer and other participants to check on the current product progress and the new changes in the product requirements.
Maintaining business relationship with the Stakeholders:
The stakeholder provides the business requirements and the product owner is the best person to negotiate such requirements from time to time which could be possible after maintaining the good business relationship.
After discussing the above roles and responsibilities of the Product owner, it is very clear that the product owner play an overall very important role in the Scrum framework as he serves as an interface between the business requirements and the technical implementation of these requirements in to the final product.