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Role of Product Owners in Scrum Implementation

  • A Scrum Product Owner, the main man of a scrum team who with his development team ensures to add value to the work they do together and the products they create. Indulge and know more on what contribution a product owner makes in a team.

Product Owners responsibility in Scrum Project Methodology

“As described in the Scrum Guide, a Scrum Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team.”

In Software development, when a company/organization starts an agile project in an outsourced model, they form a team first. Further, the team is divided into onshore and offshore. The majority of the team that is located offshore comprises the project's development team. On the other hand, the Scrum Product owner primarily forms the onshore end, who, in layman words, is the main man for the project. The team takes care of the project requirements in the form of stories and keeps adding them in the backlog of the project that serves as a to-do list for the development team. At offshore, the professional Scrum Master, the developers, and the testers who work on the backlog items (stories) shape the development team, as per the Product Owner.

The Product Owner is solely responsible for managing the Product Backlog, which includes:

  • Clearly expressing the Product Backlog items.
  • Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to achieve goals and missions.
  • Improving the work efficiency of the Scrum Product Development Team.
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and understandable so that it gives an idea of what the Scrum Team plans on working next.
  • Ensuring that the Software Development Team understands the items in the Product Backlog to a great extent.

While setting forth the requirements in the form of stories, the Product Owner has to communicate the objective specifically that they plan on achieving. If necessary, he/she can also explain the acceptance criteria, which might be of some use to the Quality Analyst, at the time of testing the app.

During the project, apart from writing the stories and maintaining the backlog, the Product Owner also has to look into various other responsibilities that are mentioned below –

  • Scrum planning meeting - A meeting put in order where the Scrum Master decides upon the features (stories) that should be a part of the scrum. (Sprint Planning Meetings)
  • Assign stories - Appropriate stories are assigned to a Scrum, and then the product owner starts the scrum.
  • The Daily stand-up meetings – A stand-up meeting is organized for the entire team to check the work progress, and answer queries that the attendees may have on the stories.
  • Clarify requirements – Though, the Scrum Master can themselves clarify most of the requirements and user stories. Still in cases where more information is needed, stakeholders (business group, business users, and sponsors of the project) are the ones to be approached. 
  • Reassign stories – During a scrum, if a story is found to be taking more time or it needs more clarity to be completed, then such stories should be reassigned to a subsequent scrum.
  • Acceptance criteria – Put down an acceptance criteria for passing the test cycle of a story which can be changed after a discussion, if necessary.
  • Scrum or Sprint Review – Towards the end of the scrum, review the deliverables provided as part of the scrum, provide feedback (enhancement or changes) if needed on the deliverables that can be taken over in subsequent scrums.
  • Scrum closure – Closes the current scrum and starts a new one when the duration of the scrum is completed.   

During the software development process, there can be other responsibilities that can come on the Product Owner, and he has to perform those being the sole decision-maker. The responsibilities are as follows –

  • Ramping up or downsizing the team size based on the work and budget requirement of the project.
  • In testing, there can be a scenario where a deadlock pops up between the tester and the development team. Either it could happen when a use case is failing in testing, or the developer is unable to fix it, and also in some situations where he cannot do it as per the requirement. In such cases, the product owner has to decide the acceptance criteria.
  • While constantly coming up with ideas/roadmaps for the project/application that is being built, they also have to imbibe in them that at the end of the day, the project is their baby, and they need to nurture it throughout its life cycle.

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