Attributes of Professional Product Owner

In Scrum, Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of product being developed by Development Team. This implies that a product’s success relies heavily on the Product Owner role. I have consolidated the attributes from Mike Cohn’s book “Succeeding with Agile” with few more must-have attributes for this role:

  • Visionary – Product Owner must have a solid vision on what (s)he would like to deliver to the customers. This would require the person to understand the business, market conditions and should be able to weigh in the risks and opportunities. Without this quality, Product Owner may struggle to envision the product which (s)he wants to build for the customer. In large organizations with lot of legacy systems, I recommend having Product Owner to envision product that delivers something of customer value. This product may touch upon multiple internal systems. Product Owner would need to work with Subject Matter Experts from each system to build Product Backlog which maximizes value delivered to customers.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) mindset – At times, Product Owners fall for the budgetary trap. They get tempted to build more features since there is still budget left for consumption. Studies have proven that on an average more than 65% of developed features are never used. This is a case of adding waste into the system. Instead of consuming the budget, focus on only delivering the most valuable features.
  • Understand the competition – We live in a highly disruptive market where new products are launched quite often. Product Owner needs to have his/ her eyes and ears on the ground to understand where opportunity arises and take swift decisions.
  • Communicative and Collaborative – As a Product Owner, the person will need to communicate with diverse set of stakeholders including Development Teams. The person should collaborate with everyone to bring them onboard with the product vision.
  • Negotiation skills – Collaborating with various stakeholders and Development Teams would need excellent negotiation skills. This will also help avoid delays in decision-making. When stakeholders skip Sprint Reviews, it is a classic sign of dis-engaged Product Owner.
  • Release frequently – Business value perceived by Product Owner is only a hypothesis unless it is released to the market. By not releasing frequently, you will just lengthen the feedback loop from the customers and miss the opportunity to take necessary tactical decisions about the product.
  • Empowered – If Product Owner is not having authority to take decisions related to the product, it may cause delays in actual work as Scrum Team will have to wait for decisions taken by the ‘right authority’. This will happen when Product Owner role is being performed by a person that serves as a “proxy” between the Product Manager and Development Team.
  • Available – A Product Owner must be available for Development Team. In general, person performing this role has other non-Scrum related tasks at hand and makes it difficult to find a right balance between those tasks and Product Owner’s accountabilities. This becomes more challenging when working with geographically distributed teams with limited time-zone overlap. Scaling this role when you have multiple Development Teams working on same product makes the matters worse. I usually recommend having Product Owner office hours to ensure that teams get necessary time with Product Owner to get their queries answered.

All-in-all Product Owner is a leadership role which requires the attributes mentioned above so Scrum Team has an edge to build a product that customers need.

Mysteries Of Product Ownership

Myths, Misconceptions & Mysteries Of Product Ownership

Here’s what the Scrum Guide says about the Product Owner Role:
“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.”

Who is an effective Product Owner in Scrum? Is (S)He a requirements typist, user story writer, business analyst, domain expert, maybe all of the above? What are some effective practices of Product Ownership? What are the biggest myths and misconceptions around Product Ownership?

Five of the most respected PSPO Trainers – Ralph Jocham, Mark Noneman, Erik Weber, Hiren Doshi, and Simon Reindl talk and answer questions on Product Ownership myths, misconceptions and mysteries of Product Ownership.

Professional Scrum Product Owner

15 things a Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) actually does

15 things a Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) actually does


The Product Owners – Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos

  1. The Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) is an Entrepreneur – a value Maximizer & Optimizer
  2. The PSPO sets a solid vision to help the Scrum Team keep laser sharped focus and direction that helps with incremental progress at the end of each sprint
  3. 1 Product == 1 Product Backlog == 1 Product Owner. Having one PSPO for the product helps with the clarity & focus, ensures quick decision making, and single person accountability for the success of the product.
  4. To validate the idea the PSPO frequently releases the increment of software to market to gain real customer insights
  5. The PSPO has the final say on the order of the Product Backlog. The PSPO orders the PBIs in the product backlog by keeping the Value of the PBI, the dependencies between PBIs and the dependencies on the other products in mind.
  6. The PSPO ensures that most valuable functionality is generated all times by the Development Team.
  7. The PSPO accounts for the Return on Investment and Total Cost of Ownership before a feature is built.
  8. The PSPO ensures that all work done by the Development Team originate from the single Product Backlog – a single source of truth.
  9. To determine the value of the product being delivered the PSPO might use metrics like time to market (cycle time / lead time), percentage of the functionality in the released product used by the customers & the overall customer satisfaction
  10. The PSPO is accountable for Interacting and engaging with the Stakeholders.
  11. The PSPO comes to the Sprint planning with a clear business objective in mind and works with the Development Team to craft a sprint goal based upon the forecast
  12. During the actual Sprint the PSPO is accountable for the Product Backlog Refinement, but may delegate the work to the Development Team.
  13. The PSPO  is the only one who can abnormally terminate the Sprint in case the Sprint goal becomes obsolete.
  14. The PSPO Is just one person and not a committee
  15. The PSPO builds trust by closely working with Development Teams. He is not hesitant to delegate the work of writing user stories / Product Backlog items to the Development Team.