Product Owner Job Description

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Feb 22, 2024

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The product owner job description is must-to-know information for every product owner to be. All the details related to the product owner's roles and responsibilities are discussed in this blog. The product owner is the person who is in charge to set, prioritize, and accept the work provided by the client. This person then makes the product backlog item and sits with the team during the sprint planning meetings. The further product owner will connect with the client and make them understand the business value. They act as a bridge between the team and the client

I am sure you are all puzzled looking at the topic for this blog. You even wonder if I am a recruiter and posting job descriptions. You are right and wrong. I am not a recruiter but going to post a job description. There is a catch and you know what? I am not going to post a typical JD with so much jargon to make the job applicant feel humiliated. No offence to a recruiter though. I am going to explain to you the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in agile and scrum projects.

Product Owner:

First things first, so let’s get to know this person both technically and in layman’s terms. Why do we call this role a product owner? Why not a product leader or a manager?  Before we move forward I would prefer to refer to this person as a PO in our blog as they are addressed by in the IT world. 

A leader is a person who efficiently leads the team towards a goal. On the other hand, a manager is a person who manages resources including people well to deliver the goal of an organization. But, a PO is both the leader and the manager who owns the product to be designed, developed and delivered. I would like to let you know that in layman's terms, owning is possessing and that comes with a lot of personal touches. PO is a person who owns and never compromises on quality and hence we have designated this person as an owner but neither as a manager nor a leader. However, you must know that a PO is both a manager, a leader and much more. 

Technically, PO is the person who is accountable for the product and makes decisions about what needs to be developed. They ensure every feature of the product to be released is on the first cut defined clearly with the team. In complex terms, a PO is a value maximizer who works toward maximizing the product value given by the client by working closely with the team to achieve the business goal. 

Product owner qualifications and skills required:

  • The basic requirement for becoming a PO is previous immense knowledge and work experience. However, this varies depending on the position one applies to a company. The development path of PO is as follows. Junior  Regular  Senior  Expert. In case, you have qualifications from a premier institute you stand a better chance to find a PO job at the entry-level. 
  • Again qualification varies from company to company, it could either demand engineering or a master's in computer science or a bachelor's in information technology degree to suffice. There is no hard and fast rule about the qualification. The qualification might help you get paid in the beginning which you can find in lacs/annum based on the qualification in the above image. Later when you move up the career ladder it is not your qualification but your experience and performance that matters. 
  • Agile process, principle knowledge is a must. 
  • Communication and presentation skills with some leadership qualities are a must. The most important skill would be time and resource management. 
  • Must think out of the box, and give attention to details. 
  • Have problem-solving and analytical skills.

I know these are printed on the product owner job description. Every JD does have all these requirements. So let us not stop here and come we shall move forward to understand the actual roles and responsibilities of a PO to evaluate if we fit in the bill to play the role of PO. 

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Top 10 Roles and Responsibilities of the PO

  1. Must be an able scrum team leader.
  2. The PO act as the primary source of contact for all the relevant stakeholders involved in the business.
  3. Prioritize and plan product backlog to ensure timely completion of work during every sprint meeting 
  4. Assess values to develop cases. Also, prioritize the stories, themes, and epics to make the team focus on the product strategy. 
  5. Offer user story elaboration, plan and manage iteration and backlogs. 
  6. Work in hand with the product management team to maintain/create a product backlog
  7. Understand the business goal and add value to achieve the best ROI
  8. Set expectations on delivering new functionalities by leading the product release plans 
  9. Closely work with the team and the client to accomplish the sprint plan and ultimately the release goals. 
  10. Understand the market and the end-users to create the right road map for the product. 

Also, the product owners' roles and responsibilities do not stop with the 10 but must keep abreast of the best practices and upcoming agile and scrum trends to succeed. 

Technical Product Owner Job Description

So far we discussed the agile product owner job description. There is additionally a need for a technical product owner in a few projects. This person requires unique skill sets apart from having hands-on experience in agile projects. As the name implies he/she must have technical knowledge in the strategic conversion of the product. 

Combined with the above 10 responsibilities a technical product owner must be able to talk technically with the development team as well as educate the clients in nontechnical language. Technical PO should act as a bridge between the technical team and the client.

Must do - 4 duties of a Product Owner 

Apart from the listed many duties are not just specific to PO in an agile team and are a little generic as well. Hence I would like to throw some light on the 4 most specific duties of a PO across all levels namely junior, regular, senior, and expert. 

1. Defining the vision

Visualizing the vision is the first step in product development. A PO must correctly visualize defining the vision. It is because the PO is the person who bridges the gap between the end-user and the internal team. Therefore PO must define the vision as it is expected by the user to communicate the same to the team. 

2. Prioritizing needs  

Ok, once the vision is clearly defined, it is important to start the work, but before that prioritize the work for effective results. Especially a PO must know how to prioritize the product backlog and maximize the outcome. Every sprint meeting must discuss sprint planS and there the PO must plan about the backlog item and its priority. 

3. Overseeing development stages

After the vision is defined, needs are prioritized and then comes the development work. Work in progress must be monitored by the PO at every stage to understand the status. Also, if the PO closely works with the team then seeking clarification will be easy and hence the delay can be reduced. I would suggest a PO be part of the daily scrum to fix all issues then and there.

4. Evaluating product progress at each iteration

Finally, the evaluation of the progress in product development must be checked during every sprint meeting. This will effectively help in not just the release of the product on time but save time and cost as well. PO can check and reprioritize stories to drive the team towards the end goal. 

Product Owner Job Description (Sample)

An IT professional known as a "Product Owner" is in charge of planning, prioritising, and assessing the work produced by a Scrum software team to guarantee optimal performance.

Job Role 

  • As the Product Owner, take charge of the scrum teams.
  • formulating requirements and providing vision and guidance to the team.
  • Ensure that there are always enough preplanned projects for the team to work on.
  • Plan and order the development of the product's backlog of features.
  • Define the product's goal, road map, and potential for growth.
  • To make sure work is concentrated on those with the most value and are in line with product strategy, evaluate the value, create cases, and prioritise stories, epics, and themes.
  • Manage the backlog, schedule the iterations, and elaborate the user stories.
  • Maintain a product backlog in close collaboration with product management based on business value or ROI.

Job Requirements: 

  • B.Tech/BE(or equivalent) in CSE/IT  from any recognised institution.
  • 2 to 3 Years of experience in the industry as a Product Owner.
  • CSPO Certification Holders preferred.

Monthly Duties:

  • Take 2 debriefing sessions of the team, to ensure smooth functioning
  • Submit Weekly prospectus.
  • Prepare the agenda for the upcoming month in advance.

Skills Required :

  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Analytical Thinker and problem solver
  • Attention to detail 
  • In-depth knowledge of Agile processes and principles
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills

How to become a Product Owner?

After we have understood the role, qualifications, requirements, and duties of a PO, now we must already feel like becoming one. Am I correct? Then let me tell you how to become a PO. 

Beyond education, duties, and experience follow these simple steps in your daily agile project and scrum meetings to qualify for a PO. 

  • Be modest – do not take decisions with your gut feeling but do research, and collect numbers. The backlog item number must be updated to plan the Product roadmap ahead. 
  • Be diplomatic – With the backlog number, prioritize needs and also learn to say ‘no’ when something is really not to be done.
  • Be introspective – Don’t give up and ask yourself why it failed during every meeting to make a fresh plan and move forward.  

Above all, resolve conflicts and learn to escalate when required and your end goal should be to deliver products per user need. You cannot become a PO overnight but practice these skills within your team in all projects you take part irrespective of whether you are a developer or any other in your team. Soon you can become a PO to make your dream come true with these qualities built. 

Product Owner’s Salary

So till now, you have gone through a Product Owner’s requirements, roles, and responsibilities and sure must be wondering how much they make after doing all these duties. The average salary of a Product Owner in India is around 18 Lakh Rupees per year. If we look in other countries like the USA or in Europe, they are paid, even more, in the USA a Product Owner makes around $ 118,621 per annum.

Are Scrum master and Product owner the same?

Although the Product Owner and Scrum Master work very closely next to each other they are the two opposite sides of a coin which add value when combined together. They play totally different roles, The Product Owner ponders with the client's perspective, whereas the Scrum master has to keep the company, project, team and goal in mind. This leads to a healthy The tension between the Product Owner and Scrum Master but as mentioned they must be combined together to add value. 

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Experience is the primary requirement for a PO. But, it is understood that gaining practical experience can happen only when someone finds a job as a PO. It is more like a chicken-egg story. Companies look for experienced professionals to hire and individuals look for a job to earn experience. 

You can find a solution to this ever-growing challenge in the job market by applying for a certified scrum product owner course. We are glad that you know the reasons to do CSPO certification. Don’t wait and just take the first step towards your successful journey in your career as a product owner. 

Also Read: 7 Best Books For Product Owner 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the responsibilities of a product owner?

The  Product Owner oversees the product backlog and makes sure that the client gains the maximum possible value from the product. The product owner is also responsible for defining user stories and creating a product backlog.

What skills should a product owner have?

Communication, Analytical, Project management and presentation skills are some must-have skills for product owners.

What kind of job is a product owner?

In order to make sure the finished product satisfies specific criteria and preferences, a Product Owner may collaborate with a range of teams, including stakeholders, scrum masters, and product developers. They'll also come up with concepts for potential product features.

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