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The Core Role And Responsibilities Of A Product Owner In Scrum

By Expert Author: Mrugesh panchal

One of the commonest mistakes that people make while considering the product owner’s role in scrum is to consider him or her as either actually owning the product, or functioning as a decision maker while developing the product for the stakeholders. This is far from true, since the product owner is actually employed by the stakeholders to represent their interests while scrum is implemented in a project. A product owner can own a product, but is not necessarily its owner in most cases.

The core job of the product owner, or rather the main responsibility, is to:
• Figure out how to “make” the product
• Ensure that the sprints are successfully completed during the project
• Shippable products are delivered at the end of sprints
• Ensure that the scrum project is successfully completed

The product owner’s job is a difficult one, and a full-time one.

The product owner as the core determinant of a successfully completed scrum project
It is essential to deliver value, and the scrum method requires an efficient, reliable, and an accurate mechanism, which can help to determine the product vision and create an effective pipeline which has the capability of distilling the product vision into shippable, concrete, and deliverable product backlog items that can successfully demonstrate the tangible benefits as a part of the longer project vision. It is because of this reason that the role of a product owner becomes a very important one while implementing scrum.

While the product owner can participate in each Scrum ritual, his or her main function, parallel to that of the scrum master, is to act as a facilitator for the entire team, and be available when problems and issues arise in the project. The main tasks of a product owner are:
• Envisioning the product and facilitating its development
• Creating an iterative or sprint release strategy which can incorporate the changing market conditions and product requirements
• Distilling the high-level product related requirements into developable and deliverable user stories linked with acceptance criteria
• Prioritizing the product backlog
• Communicating difficult and complex system architecture issues to the clients
• Negotiating all client-sided disputes and concerns associated with the product design, development, and user story priorities

Responsibilities of a product owner
The person is mainly responsible for:
• Representing the interests of, and acting as the voice of stakeholders and customers
• Understanding project profitability and delivering high ROI
• Managing the stakeholders
• Maintaining communications and promoting collaboration amongst the team members
• Undertaking on-the-spot tactical decisions and ensuring that the product development cycle is not affected
• Participating in the release meetings and planning
• Writing effective user stories
• Maintaining and updating the product backlog
• Helping the team in estimating the development time for each scrum scenario
• Participating in the sprint review meetings, accepting the user stories as “Done”, and providing effectual feedback
• Monitoring the project progress and suggesting constant adjustments based upon important strategic objectives

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