When I coach companies on Scrum and Agile Methodologies, I’m used to having dedicated, co-located Product Owners and teams. Lately it seems, especially with large corporations involved in an Agile transition, Product Owners and Scrum Masters are leading multiple project teams; often they are not co-located. It can be challenging when trying to coach teams on Agile Manifesto values, such as: Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools. Often during these transitions, companies expect a PO to be a part-time Product Owner: doing PO work in addition to his/her day (or real) job. Many times I have had Product Owners ask me to help justify their full-time involvement so that their supervisors understand the extent of the time commitment involved with the role. I have done this by describing what a typical Product Owner does each day. So in this post, I am going to jot down a (by no means exhaustive) list of what a Product Owner does on a daily basis (in no specific order):
- Attends the team’s daily planning meeting (aka standup) to understand the team’s progress and issues towards the sprint goals.
- Captures customer requirements (and wish lists) by writing (or helping others write) User Stories.
- Accepts/rejects completed User Stories.
- Prioritize and update the backlog.
- Is available to the team each day to answer questions and clarify stories.
- Verifies that stories are in the proper format, contain valid confirmation (aka Acceptance Criteria), and are in-line with the product vision and scope. This includes any necessary design details, business rules, etc.
Makes sure that project/product vision and goals are clearly defined and communicated to everyone.
Works with the team to ensure stories meet the agreed upon “Definition of Ready” before pulling them into the sprints.
Helps remove obstacles that the team and Scrum Master cannot remove.
Makes sure that the Scrum Team has a direct connection with end users through story development and the Sprint Review.
Keeps stakeholders informed on project status and how much value has been generated for money spent.
In addition to that, on a bi-weekly or as needed basis:
- Participate in the demo and retrospective meetings.
- Work with the team to groom the Release backlog.
- Work with the team to plan the iterations.
- Meets with customers and stakeholders on a regular basis to field questions and inform them of project/product updates and changes.
- Conducts the Sprint demo with the team to present the incremental functionality to users and stakeholders.
Feel free (or compelled) to add your own. My thanks to Bob Schatz @Agileinfusion for his sage advice and input.