The Product Owner Role

In Scrum, the Product Owner is the one person ultimately responsible for the return on investment (ROI) of the product development effort. The Product Owner influences the development effort by conveying his vision to the team(s) and prioritizing the Product Backlog. The Product Owner must have the authority to make real business decisions, vision about what the product could be, and be available to the team(s).

The Product Owner is commonly a lead user of the system or someone from marketing, product management or anyone with a solid understanding of users, the market place, the competition and of future trends for the domain or type of system being developed.

As a stakeholder proxy, the product owner:

  • Is the "go to" person for domain information
  • Provides timely information and decisions
  • Prioritizes requirements, defects, and other work items for the team
  • Is an active participant in modeling (sometimes mistakenly called backlog grooming or backlog refinement)
  • Is an active participant in customer testing
  • Helps the team gain access to expert stakeholders
  • Facilitates requirements modeling sessions, including requirements envisioning
  • Educates team in the business domain
  • Is the gateway to funding
  • Manages requirements dependencies with other teams, negotiating and reprioritizing as appropriate.
When representing the agile team to the stakeholder community, the product owner:
  • Is the public face of team to project stakeholders
  • Demos the solution to key stakeholders who weren't able to attend the normal iteration demo
  • Announces releases
  • Communicates team status
  • Organizes milestone reviews
  • Facilitates requirements modeling sessions
  • Educates stakeholders in the development process
  • Negotiates priorities, scope, funding, and schedule