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The Product Owner Role in Scrum Team

Published on 30th March 2020

In these challenging times, being agile and adapting to change is very important for both personal growth and business continuity.

So let’s start from Scrum, as the most-used  Agile framework.  Scrum has been used in development of complex products since the 1990s. Its popularity has grown in the last several years in Serbia, starting from the IT industry. Over the years, its reach has spread to other industries that recognize Scrum advantages every day. You can often hear that Scrum organized companies are more productive and respond more quickly to changes. The situation in the world looks like there are companies that practice Scrum and the ones that will practice Scrum in the future. For people who are at the beginning of this process, we dedicate this text to help them better understand their future roles.

 

The ideal Scrum team consists of 6-8 members, one of whom is a Product Owner, the other is a Scrum Master and there is a development team – a group of specialists in various fields.

Each of these roles has a significant place on the team and each is very important and complex.

For example, the Scrum Master task is to make sure all team members fully understand and respect the business process, while the role of the Product Owner aims to maximize the value of a product/service that Scrum team develops.

 

Here we will concentrate on the role of the Product Owner, because of its complexity and a great responsibility that it carries.

As we mentioned before, a growing number of companies and organizations in Serbia are moving to Agile, which requires a different organization of work, approach to business, as well as introducing new roles that will bring about these changes and create a new system. The Product Owner certainly has a very important role to play in this transformation, and the difference between a good and a great Product Owner is often the key to success in the marketplace and placement of an idea or a product.

 

 

Who is the Product Owner in Scrum Team?

The Product Owner is a person who knows why a particular product should exist, how it should be made, and how to make that product grow to its maximum. The Product Owner should be fully capable of understanding the needs and desires of the customer who requested a product or a service, and then transfer that vision to the team engaged in the delivery of the product or the service.

 

One of the challenges that the  Product Owner faces it to define priorities that need to be done in a certain period (sprint), by evaluating the business value and the amount of time needed for each task to be completed. He must be prepared to make some tough decisions, as well as for the consequences of such decisions.

For a Product Owner to succeed, everyone in the organization must respect his/her decisions, because his/her role is to maximize the value of the product or the service being developed.

 

The Product Owner characteristics

To better describe this role, we will list some characteristics that this role should have.

First, this position requires a lot of communication and it is ideal for this role to be an extrovert. Someone in this position is expected to have very good interpersonal skills, as well as “diplomatic” skills  – to have the ability to negotiate with people. Organizational skills are also crucial, so this person should be able to manage teams and timelines.

When it comes to business skills and competencies, it is preferable that someone in the Product Owner role has the ability to think intuitively and creatively, to show initiative as his role is to motivate other team members.

Although he/she is the most responsible for product development, Product Owner is not the only responsible person for the product. He/She needs to communicate with the development team on a daily basis, to follow the marketing and sales requirements and inputs on functionalities that need to be developed.

Therefore, it is very important that there is a good understanding and cooperation between the Product Owner and the development team.

The Product Owner must be available to the team he works with, communicate openly with each team member and understand their concerns. As a leader, he must listen to the team and lead the team day by day in accordance with the vision and goals of the product.  He has to manage the product from start to finish, and therefore bears most of the responsibility.

 

Statistics place Product Owner as one of the most sought-after positions nowadays and we are sure most of you are interested in pursuing this role. So a new question emerges  –

How can I become a Product Owner?

If you are a Product Manager, Team Lead, a Project/Program Manager, Business Analyst-a, or rather, if your responsibilities correspond to the description of the Product Owner, the role, knowledge and skills of the Product Owner can absolutely make your business more successful and create excellent personal development possibilities for you.

 

Since there is no formal training for this role, the most important step on the way to become a Product Owner is to certify yourself. The certificate is a big plus and sometimes a prerequisite to employment, not to mention know-how and best practice that you can get an access to.

Agile Serbia, an educational center and a leader in the region for Agile and Scrum education has developed a set of useful information on certification as well as information, tips, advice about this role. How to communicate with team members and other stakeholders in an agile environment, or how to effectively present your product to the customer, in how much detail and at what point? These and many other answers await you.

Be Agile – Learn About Scrum While Doing Scrum.  😊

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