Product Owner

Role_PO_LargeThis Reading Path introduces the role of the Product Owner in Lean-Agile.

The Product Owner is the pivotal role in enabling the seamless flow of development from value to product.

The Product Owner (PO) is the person who connects two key functions and associated groups of people: the ones who identify what value is needed (the Business) and the ones who determine how and implement it (development team).

  • To the development team, the Product Owner represents the enterprise Business value and the needs of Program Level stakeholders, defining and prioritizing the team backlog.
  • To the Business, the Product Owner represents the development team: the value that has been realized and the needs they have.

The Product Owner is the proxy for the customer, the go between for those who define value at the Minimum Business Increment level, primarily product managers, and those who implement value into working software, the development teams. Seen this way, the Product Owner is like the transmission of a car.

  • The engine of the car is those who define the value. The wheels are those who implement value.
  • The Product Owner connects the engine to the wheels by answering the development team’s questions about the value they will implement. The Product Owner is the team’s main source for insights into customer and stakeholder motivation. The Product Owner helps the team know just what the end customer or the enterprise is expecting of their products.
  • The Product Owner connects the wheels to the engine by feeding back implementation issues to those who define the value. The definers of value may be able to redefine it in a way that is simpler or less expensive or even simply possible to implement. This also lets the definers of value know when something is going to be delivered later or at higher cost due to technical difficulties.