Major Attributes of Lean Product Owners

The more often we come across few questions like

  • What is meant by the Product Owner?
  • What are the responsibilities?
  • What is the actual difference between Product Manager and Product Owner?

The Product Owner is the member of the Agile team who is liable for explaining stories and prioritizing team backlogs so as to efficiently organise the program accomplishment, while preserving conceptual and technical integrity of features or components the team is responsible for.


The Product Owner acts as a customer representative and is responsible for working with product management and other stakeholders. The Product Owner has an important role in maintaining quality and is the sole member of team, who has authority to report stories as done. The Product Owner plays a vital part in the preparation and participation of PI planning, Iteration Execution, Program Execution, Inspect and Adapt of stories.

The main responsibilities of Product Owner are


  1. Communicate the Vision and Goals - At the beginning of each Release and Iteration, the Product Owner must explain the team about the Iteration and Release goals. This helps to keep the team on track and allows to measure the team activity and level of progress achieved.


  1. Prioritizing and Sequencing the Backlog - The Product Owner is required to have the Backlog sequenced prior to the Iteration Planning Meeting. The user stories must be ordered by relative importance in accordance to business value. It’s not good to have all the stories in high or medium priority. It’s important to segregate the stories on basis of time and money.


  1. Maintaining and Refining the Product Backlog - The Product Owner is accountable for building, reducing and maintaining the team backlogs. The major part of backlog is composed of user stories but also contains stories from defects and enablers. The items in backlog are prioritised and refined during the PI planning meeting based on user value, time and dependencies.


  1. Elaboration of Epics, Themes and Features - Most backlog items are elaborated to form user stories that are helpful for easy implementation. The Product Owner is responsible for conveying the stories to the team during the Iteration planning meeting and is also liable for smooth flow of process.


  1. Represents the Customer and Works to Exceed Customer Expectations - The Product Owner should interpret customer expectations and goals with the product, always need to work on overshadowing their expectations. By continuously engaging the customer and stakeholders, the Product Owner can ensure that the team is building the right product and therefore it can deliver the ROI.


  1. Participates in Team Demo and Retrospectives - Being an integral member of the team the Product Owner should take part in team demo, reviewing and accepting stories. The Product Owner has the opportunity to take the team in proper direction in each Iteration. Team meetings and retrospectives provides a chance for the team to improve the process effectively.


  1. Inspects the Product Progress - The Product Owner plays an important role in executing inspect and adapt of different stories. At the end of each Iteration, the Product Owner has complete authority to accept or reject work done. The Product Owner also helps the team to re-prioritise or sequence the stories in backlog, to complete the stories in next Iteration.


  1. Adaptive to Modifications - The Product Owner should recognise and understand the changes need to be introduced in the teams for completing the stories in the planned Iteration periods. By building confidence in the team, the Product Owner can achieve success.


  1. Communicates Status Externally - A good Product Owner is the one who acts as a main speaker of the Team to the outside world. The Product Owner should make sure that all channels of communications are open and thus supports the projects to get all the required support for the progress.


  1. Understands the Domain - Having complete knowledge about the domain and environment of the team where he belongs to, allows the Product owner to work efficiently. And also helps to build the product according to context of the domain. The Product Owner should be aware of the organization concerns and also about the market conditions.


The Product Owner should have knowledge of valuable business models. He should be conscious to apply a specific model when required. The Product Owner serves a main purpose in program execution and coordinates with other Product Owner at the end of each PI.

The Product Manager in Agile teams is termed as a Product Owner, who will be an integral part of the team and ensures that team is working as per the plan. The Product Owner role is a challenging and multi-faceted job that requires a broad range of skills. It also provides the exciting opportunity to create new things, to develop new products and features which is helpful for both the users and the organisation.


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