37 Tasks for a Product Owner’s Job


Product Owner is a full-time job
Engine Order by Ky

In contrast to the Scrum master role which is often questioned whether it is a full-time job, the product owner role is almost never questioned being a full-time job. One exception: Roman Pichler presented “The Partial Product Owner” in his book Agile Product Management with Scrum.

However, in my experience a lot of product owners have problems to focus on their job. Often they are part of some kind of speciality department with lots of commitments not directly related to the product they should develop in their Scrum team.

The product owner is a full-time job. Look at those 37 tasks I’d say are part of a product owner’s job (☼ = explicitly together with the development team):

The What

Outside

  • Observing, learning about and analyzing the market.
  • Observing, learning about, contacting and analyzing customers and end users of the product.
  • Keeping in touch with every stakeholder of the product regularly.
  • Report to management and stakeholders (e.g. release burndown).
  • Sharing insights throughout the company regarding the product (micro-blogging, blogging, internal conferences, etc.).

Leadership

  • Deciding what to build and what not (☼).
  • Giving feedback to the development team
    • during the sprint to the work accomplished by the development team
    • about their process and interactions.
  • Doing Gemba Walks.
  • Claiming and explaining a one-click-deploy to keep down transaction costs.
  • Claiming and explaining a 10-minute build to preserve fast feedback.
  • Claiming and explaining feature flags to preserve flexibility.
  • Providing and teaching every available business number to the development team to connect them with the product and its customers to make informed decisions together.

Participating

  • Participating in Scrum meetings:
    • Providing sprint goal and new user stories for sprint planning.
    • Giving feedback regarding the achievement of the sprint goal in the sprint review.
    • Reflecting and taking action as a team member in the sprint retrospective.
    • Informing, helping and learning in the daily scrum.
  • Helping the team to continuously improve their process.

Learning

  • Continuing to learn about everything Agile (e.g. visit user groups, attend conferences, read books, write blogs, etc.).
  • Exchanging constantly with other product owners in the organisation (e.g. through community of practice).
  • Playing with the product.
  • Learning and refining your product’s whole value stream, like procurement upstream and marketing and sales downstream.
  • Measuring progress (e.g. value delivered to clients in each sprint).

Miscellaneous

You’ve done and/or considered everything mentioned above? You’re sitting with the team, you’re totally empowered, and your product is a huge success? Awesome! Go out and throw your team and yourself a big party!

The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team. — Scrum Guide

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About Bernd Schiffer

Bernd Schiffer is consultant, trainer and coach for Agile Software Development in Melbourne, Australia. Learn more about him on his homepage or contact him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, XING or LinkedIn.

10 Responses to 37 Tasks for a Product Owner’s Job

  1. Hello Bernd,

    Nice post! I have translated it into french :
    37 tâches qui font partie du boulot de Product Owner

    Regards, Fabrice

  2. ahmad zandi says:

    It was great! I have translated it into Persian

  3. Tolga Kombak says:

    Hello Bernd,

    Great post.. I’ve found it quite handy for a PO checklist and translated it into Turkish for Agile Turkey.

    “Product Owner’ın 37 Görevi”
    http://www.agileturkey.org/#!product-ownerin-37-gorevi/c12t2

  4. Abbey says:

    Hi,
    The Scrum product owner’s job is to motivate the team with a clear, elevating goal.You have mentioned wonderfully by catagorizing it into 37 tasks.Good job!

  5. Winny Ar says:

    My company had a new project using Agile and they wanted I did that job (product owner). And, here I am, product owner of that project.
    Actually, I’m a pharmacist and a teacher, but now, should be a product owner in a web-team project (e-commerce, websites, etc).
    Oh gosh..! Sometimes, it feels so hard to do and I need to learn more and more about agile,marketing,programming, etc.
    My team usually use ‘their language’ as developer or programmer and I don’t know what they’ve said. They couldn’t report their job in ‘normal language’ and it drive me insane.
    As a newbie, Agile was totally new for me and my team, so thank you for explaining 37 tasks to do clearly, and..do you have any advice for me as a new product owner?

    Thank you so much :)

    • Thanks for your kind words. My advice for you as a new product owner is to learn all about Product Ownership that can be learned about it. You could start with a Product Owner training class, visit Scrum User Groups, or read a good book about Product Ownership.

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