Everything about Project Owner Responsibilities

When I help teams transition from traditional project manager-led projects to Scrum, the members are confused with the new roles. We will map out existing roles and their equivalent roles to Scrum with some customization to adapt to the Team’s culture.

Before the team can map this, they need to understand the responsibilities of each role. So I show them the list of all the responsibilities of each role and explain to the team item per item so they will know what to expect from each other. In this blog post, I shall dump Everything about the Product Owner Responsibilities – instead of the team reading all the articles about Product Owner.

Product Owner’s Responsibility to the Product

  • I have a compelling vision of the product
  • I have an elevator pitch (a tagline) for the product vision that is easy to recall
  • I create the business model for the product or service: a business model is plan for the successful operation of a business, identifying sources of revenue, the intended customer base, products, and details of financing.
  • I am expertly aware of the marketplace for the product and constantly collect information about the marketplace in order to maximize the value of the product
  • I have a product roadmap for at least 6 months out (depends on the planning cycle of your company)
  • I decide when to release an increment to the market while understanding the risk of getting out of sync with the market when releases are too far apart
  • I deliver the products iteratively and incrementally, maximizing opportunity for feedback
  • I have a product backlog that is ordered (prioritized) based on value, risk, dependencies, criticality – or whatever criteria I set that is easily understood by all
  • I have the authority to make decisions on the product backlog
  • I am responsible for the finances of the product/project; I decide the priority to provide the best return on investment (risk/return/budget)
  • I make sure that Product Backlog items have description, order, estimate, and value
  • I have a product backlog with sufficient READY items for sprint planning (at least for 2 sprints). More details at the top and less details at the bottom.
  • I regularly refine the product backlog with developers and should not take more than 10% of their time
  • I make sure that product backlog items at the top satisfy the INVEST criteria
  • I maximize value by eliminating waste (lean concepts) in the backlog and in the process
  • I update the product backlog at least after the Sprint Review to capture stakeholder’s feedback
  • I understand the concept of technical debt and actively prevent them

Product Owner’s Responsibility to the Stakeholders

  • I make sure that the product vision is aligned with business objectives
  • I get stakeholder buy-in on the product vision, I make sure that I get their TRUST
  • I know who my stakeholders are, I spend majority of my time communicating with them
  • I am the Lead Facilitator of stakeholder involvement
  • I make sure that the product backlog is visible to all stakeholders
  • I understand the needs of my stakeholders and manage their expectations (Tools: Salience Model, Power Influence Grid)
  • I invite the relevant stakeholders in the Sprint Review. I get stakeholders’ feedback of the latest increment and update the product backlog accordingly
  • Equipped with knowledge of the market and the stakeholders, I can anticipate stakeholder’s need and visualize them (Tool: customer journey mapping)
  • I am the primary liaison between the stakeholder and the team

Product Owner’s Responsibility to the Team

  • I communicate the product vision to the team often and early
  • I am available to the team to clarify requirements and to answer their questions on the requirements
  • I inspire the team and help them feel a sense of purpose through the product vision
    • I make them understand how the work they are doing helps the customer and how it fits into the company strategy
  • I am the team’s ultimate authority on work prioritization and the decision maker on what is in and what is out.
  • I motivate my team by teaching them about the domain, helping them understand the problem space. I make them write and analyze user stories.
  • I agree with the team’s Definition of Done and work with the team to continuously improve quality
  • I am available to validate and accept user stories as the team completes them (ideally within 24 hours)
  • I make sure that the user stories have acceptance criteria before the team works on it in the sprint
  • I actively negotiate and clarify user stories with the team during sprint planning
  • I have agreed upon Definition of Ready to know when a user story can be pulled from the product backlog to sprint backlog
  • I participate in the Sprint planning
    • To set the business goal for the sprint, the backlog items that will meet them
    • Together with the team set the Sprint Goal
    • To inspect How to the work will be achieved as planned by the development team
  • I host the Sprint Review, inspect the increment and adapt the product backlog
  • I participate in the retrospective to improve my work as a Product Owner
  • I actively reduce the work in progress and strive to limit the amount of multi-tasking
  • I can cancel the Sprint when the Sprint Goal no longer makes sense while taking into account the impact in productivity of canceling sprints.
  • I empower the Development Team with a decision-making framework that enables them to make decisions
  • I protect the team from distractions so they can focus on the Sprint Goal

Product Owner’s Responsibility to the Scrum Master

  • I have a strong partnership with the Scrum Master, she is free and comfortable to correct me when my words and values are not consistent with Scrum
  • I constantly work together with the Scrum Master to improve our collaboration and cooperation
  • Together with the Scrum Master, we establish an environment for sustainable development where the team can work at a consistent pace indefinitely
  • Together with the Scrum Master, we actively avoid delays in the process (we understand delays can trickle down)

I will regularly update this list as I learn new materials. Please do let me know through the comments if miss an important responsibility.

Planning to get certified as Scrum Professional Product Owner? Check my PSPO reviewers.

– Agile Pinoy

Published by agilepinoy

We are Agile Pinoy. We believe that Filipinos can build globally competitive Products, one team at a time.

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