The Product Owner Role: Product Owner on One Page

Posted on Monday 1st November 2010


This post provides a concise overview of the product owner role.

What is the essence of the product owner role? As the name suggests, a product owner should own the product on behalf of the company. You can think of the product owner as the individual who champions the product, who facilitates the product decisions, and who has the final say about the product, for instance, if and how feedback is actioned, or when which features are released. The following diagram provides a summary of how I view the role of the product owner.

The Product Owner on One Page

I find that the right application of the product owner role depends on the degree of innovation present. Product owners of new products are best viewed as entrepreneurs. Practices such as user observations, problem interviews, competitor analysis, business modelling, product roadmappingpersonasuser storiesscenariosdesign sketchesproduct demos, user tests, metrics and analytics, and release planning usually help the product owner do a great job.

Product owners of mature products usually manage their products to maximise the return of investment. Practices like using a product backlog, employing a product roadmap, and carrying out release planning will help the product owner achieve this goal.

More on the Role of the Product Owner

The product owner responsibilities
The product ownership test
The Picasso product owner: Balancing users, team, and stakeholders
Two common ways to apply the product owner role
The Highlander Principle
Avoiding common product owner mistakes
Scaling the product owner
Desirable characteristics of a product owner
Product owner = product manager?
Business analysts in Scrum
Every great product owner needs a great ScrumMaster

Product Owner Tools

Vision Board to describe the vision and the product strategy for new products.
The GO product roadmap to communicate how a product is likely to grow in the future.
Product Canvas to facilitate the development of a new product.
Persona Template to effectively describe target users and customers together with their needs.
User stories to describe the functionality of the product.
Constraint stories to capture non-functional requirements such as performance.
Design sketches and mock-ups to illustrate the user interface design.
Product backlog to manage the outstanding work to create a product (update).

Learn more

You can learn more about the role of the product owner by attending my Certified Scrum Product Owner training course, and by reading my book “Agile Product Management with Scrum“.