There are three roles in a Scrum Team as we know. However, without the Product Owner there is no team. The Product Owner is there to translate the needs of the market into a Product and deliver value to customers.
Or at least that is what the Scrum Guide tells us about the role – that is the role by design.
The role of the Product Owner…
The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team.Scrum Guide 2020
In order to achieve their purpose, Product Owners need to understand customer needs, work closely with stakeholders, measuring important value metrics.
The Product Owner needs to be aware of everything there is in the Product Backlog because they own it. It might mean working with the team or Subject Matter Experts outside of the team to clarify what customers need and why.
It also means that often the Product Owner needs to make tough prioritization decisions. The role of the Product Owner is about connecting the dots between the Developers, stakeholders, and users.
…or the role of the Project Manager?
Often the role of the Product Owner morphs into more of a Project Manager role. It means that there is much more focus on how the work is being done, rather than the value we are delivering to our customers.
In my latest video below, I am talking about the signs to look out for when you are working with your Product Owner as a Scrum Master. Learn how to understand that something is wrong and help your Product Owner get back on the right track.
What really matters
If you are a Scrum Master reading this, you might be wondering why would this be important.
Your goal is to establish Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. This requires your organization and team understand how empiricism apply to product development.
This often involves understanding what really matters.
In the video I talk about how we traditionally measure success: on time, within scope and budget. These are not the right metrics to implement in an Agile environment.
Your Product Owner and stakeholders need to focus on metrics that show value delivered, adaptability to change, continuous improvement, and product quality. I have talked about agile metrics in many previous posts and videos, so you can find additional information there.
In the end, what’s most important for you as a Scrum Master is to help everyone understand what the role of the Product Owner really is and support your Product Owner in achieving their purpose.