Looking for a Product Owner? Read This First!

6 Nov 2018

Looking for a Product Owner? Read This First!

Nov 6, 2018

In agile product development teams, the Product Owner is responsible for representing the customer and the stakeholders and for prioritizing the tasks of the team. The idea behind this is that one person collects information from various sources and discusses with people to make decisions on what is important, what should be done, and what should not be done. In addition, the Product Owner ensures that the team has defined, important tasks to work on at all times.


Ensuring a Stress-Free Team!

“The Product Owner is responsible for ensuring that the team’s work is as valuable as possible for the organization.”

The Product Owner is responsible for ensuring that the team’s work is as valuable as possible for the organization. Sounds important, doesn’t it? For many companies, product development is a big investment. The salaries, computers, workstations, development and testing environments all cost a fortune. The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the profit of these investments in both the short and the long run while avoiding, in all circumstances, overburdened employees and burnouts. This way, the future will be secured!

A good Product Owner is able to increase the productivity of the product development team compared to a situation where the Product Owner does not fulfill their duties very well. Neglecting the role of the Product Owner can be really hazardous for the organization.


Doing It on the Side Can Be Dangerous!

Of course, the role of the Product Owner can be taken on by, for example, the product manager, the project manager, or the product development manager. More and more often, companies realize that maximizing the value of the team’s work is so important that one person should dedicate their working time entirely for this purpose. A full-time Product Owner is guaranteed to improve the team’s operation and clarify the backlog. This way, product development will waste less effort and you will get more out of the team with less stress.


Responsibilities and Tasks

The first purpose of this blog post is to provide a list of the Product Owner’s tasks if you want to think about what to write in your job advertisement. On the other hand, you can use this blog text to open the management’s eyes if they still think that Product Owners are unnecessary.

Responsibilities of the Product Owner:

  • Daily work in the Scrum/product development team
    • Participating in most daily Scrum meetings
    • Participating in retrospectives, demos, and Sprint Review meetings
    • Approving the releases and Sprint’s artifact
    • Answering the team’s daily questions, being present
  • Product/team backlog
    • Keeping the backlog in the right order according to priorities
    • Preparing the prioritized backlog items with the team so that the team can start working on them
    • Arranging regular backlog grooming sessions
    • Arranging Sprint planning meetings and other planning sessions to improve the backlog (i.e. Sprint pre-planning sessions
  • Stakeholder communication
    • Determining the needs of stakeholders
    • Keeping the release schedule
    • Understanding the velocity of the team
    • Giving progress reports to stakeholders
    • Organizing necessary demos and pilots to receive feedback from relevant parties
  • Maintaining customer contacts and customer understanding
    • Regularly contacting customers or other people who can directly contact the customer
    • Organizing customer presentations, demos, and other meetings to collect feedback on the product, future plans, and the customer’s problems and needs
    • Defining a good customer experience together with product management
  • Managing errors
    • Ensuring the right order of priorities of errors
    • Determining what to fix for which release
    • Ensuring that problems are clearly defined so that they can be resolved more efficiently
  • Roadmapping and vision
    • Long-term plans together with the product manager
    • Release plans
    • Product vision and visions for each release
    • Scrum Sprint goals
  • Coordinating tasks
    • Participating in analyzing dependencies between teams and making sure that the backlog is prioritized accordingly
    • Making sure, possibly together with project management, that the work of sales, marketing, and customer support supports the release
  • Learning and maintaining a positive atmosphere
    • Contributing to a positive team atmosphere
    • Understanding that positivity enhances results and creativity, coaching the other parts of the organization to help them realize this
    • Making sure that the team improves their work

How does this list look like to you? Does it look like something that can be achieved in a few hours every week along with your own tasks? Or does it look like it could be a full-time job for someone? Quite a few of our customers have chosen the latter!


My Book is Out! Improve Your Competences!

Investing in Product Owners is well worth it. Hiring a full-time Product Owner is the first step, but you should not leave it at that. Training and coaching are good, inexpensive ways to boost product development. If these investments seem too big, you can also learn to be a better Product Owner by yourself.

This is one of the reasons why I decided to write a book on the subject. My book project took almost a year, and now I am pleased to say that it is ready. The book’s website is https://ownit8.com/. You can order the book from book stores, Amazon, or the BoD bookstore. Or directly from me. Just send us an e-mail or ask for the book when meeting with us.

If you have already read the book, feel free to share your thoughts on it! I would be delighted to receive feedback and comments on how to improve the book for its next incarnations – just as a good Product Owner should!


The Product Owner has the most important role in the agile model. A good Product Owner boosts product development and ensures maximum results. Having a Project Owner is worth the investments! These trainings are a good start, and a qualified Product Owner coach will give the finishing touches!


Arto Kiiskinen

Arto Kiiskinen

Senior Consultant

In his career, Arto has worked in product development as a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Product Development Manager. The operating methods of both large and small companies have become familiar. Arto loves to improve organizational learning and product owner know-how, and write blogs on different topics. Because retrospectives are one of Arto’s favorite topics, some of his customers have given him the nickname “Retroman”. During his free time, Arto tries to live healthy, buy as many cars as possible, rewatch the Star Gate series and study to become a Personal Trainer. Arto has also written the book “OWN IT – 8 Simple Secrets of Product Owner Success”

Share This

Jaa tämä kollegoillesi

Jaa tämä postaus verkostoosi!