Product Owner (PO)

The product owner is responsible for bringing a successful product to market. This means that she must be involved in the product’s market research as well as day-to-day product development. The product owner is responsible for ranking her needs in a product backlog so that the team receives her request in an orderly fashion. Additionally, the product owner works very closely with the team - from sprint planning to dailies to sprint reviews and retrospectives - the product owner is the team member with the product’s vision in mind.

Owns the Product Backlog

The product owner maintains the product backlog to ensure that the most important items for the team to create are at the top. Each item in the product backlog (referred to as product backlog items, PBIs, user stories, features) is force ranked against the other so that the team can pluck from the top. 

There are many ways to maintain a product backlog; the lowest-tech way is on sticky notes or a whiteboard but there are commercial tools widely available. Scrum does not specify which tool a product owner must use. We recommend that a product owner use tools as low-tech as possible until discovering the features that really needed in an agile project management tool.

Works with the team

The product owner is a team member, just like any. Remember that Scrum teams should be staffed so that they have all the skill sets necessary to create a feature (or product increment) from start to finish. The product owner brings the product vision and knowledge of customers/users to the team, just like developer brings programming know-how, the tester great QA engineering practices, and so on.

The product owner is a valuable team member - without her, the team could certainly build something, but would it be the right something? The product owner role in Scrum represents the attempt to move away from “throw-it-over-the-wall” requirements management techniques of days of old.