Team: Product Owner

The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. - Scrum Guide

If you decide to become a Product Owner, you must not forget that you are still part of the Scrum Team. In particular, the person responsible for the product from a business point of view. You must ensure that the Increments you deliver as part of the Scrum Team are of the highest possible value in each Sprint.

In assuming this role, you must understand that you are solely responsible for making decisions about the product. The product can be digital or physical, a service, or even something more abstract such as an experience. Although you can get help from others, Product Ownership is not a kind of work done in a committee; it is done by you and you alone. Remember that while you could also be a Developer, your role as Product Owner is utterly incompatible with simultaneously playing the role of Scrum Master. This is a frequently asked question, and it is a concept that needs to be reinforced.

Product Objective Creation

One of your responsibilities is to explicitly develop and communicate the product goal.

Given the collaborative nature of Scrum, ideally, these goals should not be imposed on others but rather the result of co-creation around a product vision.

The product vision sets the future scenario you want to achieve with the product. This vision is typically utopian and inspiring and sets the direction, but it hardly helps you measure progress. The product vision is not part of the Scrum framework.

Starting from the product vision, you must then establish the product creation strategy. In this strategy, you will outline the different objectives of the product to be achieved. Product Objectives are part of the Scrum framework.

We could then conclude that when we talk about Product Goals, we are talking about different measurable business milestones that, when linked together, determine the product strategy towards a product vision.

The vision, the strategy, and the objectives emerge from collaborative work that involves stakeholders and members of the Scrum Team.

Guarantee the Understanding of the Product Backlog

Your work as a Product Owner takes place throughout the day, every day of the Sprint. You are part of the Scrum Team; you are in constant contact with the rest of the team. If they work remotely, you are accessible all the time. If they work in person, you sit down with the developers. In any case, you work side by side with the rest of the Scrum Team throughout the Sprint.

Your responsibility is to ensure that everyone understands the same about the Product Backlog. This does not mean documenting the requirements in detail but rather talking and verifying during the Sprint that the Increment that is being created meets expectations.

Simultaneously, you coordinate and facilitate activities that we will call Refinement, where the stakeholders, the developers, and you are actively involved in defining the product in the medium term and understanding the product’s detail in the short term.

Determine Work Oder

Everything that is part of the Product Backlog is put in a specific order. The order is the priority in which each item will later be transformed into an Increment in the short term. It does not make sense to give a precise order to those items that have lower priority, which will be worked on in the medium term since any effort you dedicate to order these items with precision is very likely that you will have to reinvest it when you discover that priorities must change based on feedback and/or learning.

Thus, it does not make sense to order/prioritize the Product Backlog items that are located in the long term. As you approach them, using the Refinements, you will order them with greater precision.

Product Backlog Visibility Responsibility

We have already mentioned the importance of transparency. As a Product Owner, you are responsible for ensuring that the Product Backlog is accessible and known to all involved, whether they are members of the Scrum Team, stakeholders, or anyone in the organization.

This does not mean that anyone can alter it, remember, only you have the power to change the Product Backlog, but you must provide access for people to view it to be informed. For example, regardless of the tool, you use to store the Product Backlog, which could be excel, google spreadsheets, Trello, Monday, Jira, etc., there should be no access restriction, and in each communication/email you send, you should include in the footer a link to the Product Backlog display.