What is the role of the product owner in scrum?

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If you are looking at switching to agile development, you are making a decision that more and more software development teams take each day.

Agile has become a popular choice thanks to its more streamlined and effective development route, but it does need a new mindset among some who will become involved.

This type of solution requires people to operate in team mode, which may not how software development is run currently. The agile concept revolves around increasing efficiency and reducing waste, and has had ample time to prove its efficiency.

If we take Scrum, one of the Agile frameworks, one of the most important roles is a Product Owner. It is a central role that defines the product, its roadmap, and feature priorities.

In the old ways of working, the closest role to that would be a Product Manager, yet the differences between the two are important to have a firm grip on.

To have a safe start, it is recommended to get someone who is fully trained and conversant in the Product Owner role, who knows the key differences and is able to apply them in practice. Start by checking out professional agile product owner training if you are in Australia or you can simply visit the scrum alliance website to find the provider near you.

The Product Owner

Who exactly is the product owner? The product owner in agile is the person who acts as the voice from the customer, delivering requirements to the delivery team. He or she is what would be known as an account manager in many other industries, and is the central key to the process. Therefore, a product owner needs to be carefully selected, and know what the job entails.

They need to be at home communicating with the team on the ground as well as the customer representatives, and this is an ongoing, daily process that is absolutely vital to getting the job done.

This is a challenging role for whoever is chosen to take it on yet a rewarding one also. It is the role that ensures the project is delivered on time, and that costs are kept to budget. If you are not sure of the person for the job, it helps to know what they will be taught if they are enrolled in a training course.

The course will initially teach the individual about what is needed to be a successful product owner, in terms of how to interact with others and manage time efficiently. They will also be taught the importance of creating and nurturing a shared vision, and how to do so in a way that others are on the same page throughout the process.

Also, there is the equally important aspect of maintaining a backlog – that is essentially keeping track of the development as it takes place – and effectively managing the final release to the satisfaction of both customer and team.

Choosing the Product Owner

The product owner needs to be able to comply with all the above, and yet it must also be someone who is able to adapt from your current method of operation to agile development. The difference is mainly in the way the scrum works, so it’s about changing the ‘we’ve always done it like this’ attitude that is naturally present when people are in their comfort zone.

Once into the role, and as time moves on, a product owner will develop into someone with a new, wide-ranging set of skills that will benefit them in other roles, so it is certainly worth putting them through the certified product owner training course. It’s also sensible that your management team also takes the course in order to fully understand agile, and why it is becoming the best development route.