Who is a Product Owner?

In the Scrum framework, the Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.

The product owner defines the why, who, and what—why it is worthwhile to develop a product, who it is for, and what features it should contain. Product owners own a product in its entirety; they have the final word on strategic and tactical product decisions.

According to the Scrum Guide:

The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes: 

  • Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal; 
  • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items; 
  • Ordering Product Backlog items; and,
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible and understood. 

The Product Owner may do the above work or may delegate the responsibility to others. Regardless, the Product Owner remains accountable. For Product Owners to succeed, the entire organization must respect their decisions. These decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog, and through the inspectable Increment at the Sprint Review. 

The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the Product Backlog. Those wanting to change the Product Backlog can do so by trying to convince the Product Owner.

To achieve these aims, product owners perform the following activities in Scrum:

  • Set product goals
  • Ensure that the product backlog is stocked with clearly expressed items that help reach the product goal
  • Order the backlog
  • Regularly update and refine the backlog together with the developers
  • Collect feedback from users, customers, and stakeholders on the product increments
  • Agree on sprint goals with the developers.

In addition to the activities above, product owners also carry out product discovery and strategy work. This includes creating and updating a product strategy and roadmap and measuring how much value the product creates using key performance indicators (KPIs).

What Scrum Events is the Product Owner accountable for?

The Sprint Planning - The Product Owner ensures that attendees are prepared to discuss the most important Product Backlog items and how they map to the Product Goal. The Scrum Team may also invite other people to attend Sprint Planning to provide advice.

In the Sprint Planning, the Product Owner proposes how the product could increase its value and utility in the current Sprint. The whole Scrum Team then collaborates to define a Sprint Goal that communicates why the Sprint is valuable to stakeholders.

During the Sprint - The Product Owner is the only person who has the authority to cancel the Sprint.

What makes a great Product Owner?

Great product owners are empowered, knowledgeable, empathetic, available, and decisive.

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Foundation Level - Understand the responsibilities of a Product Owner.

March 14th - 18th, 2022



Foundation Level - Understand the responsibilities of a Product Owner.

March 21st - 25th, 2022



Foundation Level - Learn how to assess business value, prioritize features, projects, and portfolios, as well as return real revenue with the product backlog.

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