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What are the Key Responsibilities of a Product Owner?

The Product Owner (PO) serves as the main communications conduit between an Agile software development team and the business that owns the product that team is building.  Typically, the Product Owner role is served by someone who has the knowledge and experience with users.

The standard certification is attaining the Certified Scrum Product Owner.

As Product Owner or PO, you build and maintain a network of stakeholders, subject matter experts and users, providing opportunities each Sprint for iterative feedback about the functionality the team has built.

The Product Owner owns the Product Backlog, prioritizing the work of the team based on documented business value.

Responsibilities:

  • Create and maintain the team’s Product Backlog
  • Set priority of User Stories in the Product Backlog based on business value, Executive Sponsor and Stakeholder input
  • Refine and size User Stories in the Product Backlog with team collaboration
  • Ensure acceptance criteria for each User Story are present and clear
  • Define success criteria by which business value is assessed
  • Ensure the product offers a strong value proposition to customers and users by aligning user stories with the expected business value or objectives
  • Facilitate the Sprint Review/demo at the conclusion of every Sprint
  • Ensure representation from all affected business areas at Sprint Review/demos
  • Lead the team in defining Definition of Done and Definition of Ready
  • Accept completed User Stories during each Sprint that meet the team’s Definition of Done and acceptance criteria defined for that User Story
  • Monitor project/team progress by tracking success criteria and delivered business value

Accountabilities:

  • Accountable for accuracy and currency of Product Backlog
  • Accountable for ensuring a business value score is assigned to every Feature in the Product Backlog
  • Accountable for increasing business value per story point ratio over time

Do you see any differences between this definition of a Product Owner's responsibilities and the ones you've encountered as a individual contributor on an Agile team?  Or are you PO now and also do other responsibilities.  Let us know below!