Product Owner – the customer’s ambassador

Deep understanding of the roles in the team is the heart of the Scrum. Considering that, the Product Owner is the most important from the client’s point of view.

Scrum, with its strict set of roles in the team, is currently the most popular agile method. Developers are responsible for delivering the product. They work in self-organized groups and assign the daily goals by themselves during the daily scrum meeting. Scrum Master makes sure, that everybody understands his role and the meaning of scrum in delivering the product.

  • Agile way of working is one of the most popular in IT project management.
  • Product Owner decides how the final shape of the product looks like.
  • Properly played the role of the product owner gives the customer a complete, tailor-made product.

The Product Owner is responsible for the product development and the vision behind it. What’s more, he sets down the priorities and keeps an eye on the list of functional requirements. In fact, he is the one who guides the team and aims to deliver the best quality achievable.

Owning the product

The Product Owner is regarded, no surprise, as an owner of the product. Thus, the final shape of the solution is entirely up to him. What’s more, he is responsible for the effect. Both the Product Owner and development team can make decisions, although it is Product Owner who decides about priorities. What and how will be done, is the team’s area of responsibility.

The scrum method implies that the Product Owner shall be the client’s representative in the IT delivering company. It doesn’t mean that he must be the client’s employee, but it is possible. Although the developers deliver the product, the Product Owner show them the way to go and thus, he makes sure the client gets what he needs. He is a real customer’s ambassador in the IT company even when the client is not his employer.

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The guardian of the backlog

The backlog is the essential tool for Product Owner’s trade. It consists the lists of products requirements and desired functionalities. The document shall be easily accessible for the development team to make sure, that they can quickly check the upcoming tasks. The details vary on the project. The backlog of the solution built from scratch will look different from the backlog of the heavily patching the existing software.

Running the backlog to be both precise and useful is one of the most critical tasks of the Product Owner.

The socialite

Product Owner shall participate in the sprint planning. He has to decide what value to deliver during the upcoming iteration – which features to add and bugs to remove. Thus, the goal of the sprint shall be forged collectively by the Product Owner and the development team.

Although it is not necessary for him to participate in the daily scrum, it is common, as he is the one to answer all the questions regarding the project swiftly.

Apart from meetings with the development team, the Product Owner has to stay in touch with the client. As his ambassador, he is responsible for making sure he is well informed, and everything is going to deliver him the best value possible.

The flexibility, considered as the scrum’s most significant advantage, makes modifying the product during the development possible. It is achievable only due to Product Owner’s hard work.

Humanist in the IT world

Running the backlog, setting goals and meetings with both the developers and the client implies that Product Owner should be an excellent communicator. He must be charismatic enough to inspire the team to work hard without the toxic pressure.

On the other hand, the Product Owner should be hard enough to withstand the pressure from both the client’s and team’s side. His duty is to defend the client’s interests, but he must know when to oppose or suggest the other way.

Product Owner combines the role of both the project manager and product manager in the scrum method. It is his job to make sure that, the client gets the software he needs, built with the best possible standards.

About the Author: Kaja Kujawska

Certified Scrum Master and Project Manager experienced in various fields – from Pharma, through Advertisement to IT industry with which she has been linked for 7 years now. A great supporter of working in accordance with the principles of management 3.0. Graduate of Slavic philology.

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    2020-03-26T12:45:09+00:00June 28th, 2018|articles|2 Comments


    1. Jaro September 4, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

      A tragic role… 😉

      If you have 15 spare minutes, look at this cool, animated video, “Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell”:

      • Anna Fuks September 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm - Reply

        Thank you for this video. It could be helpful 🙂

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