As soon as the organizations started relocating to an Agile way of software development, new roles have emerged. One of them is the Product Owner who plays a pivotal role in effectively connecting the needs of the customer and business directly to the development teams in a highly dynamic and responsive manner.
Who is a Product Owner?
According to the Scrum Guide,
“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team. The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog”.
From a business standpoint, one of the most vital roles on any Scrum team is the Product Owner (PO). The product owner is in charge of getting the product to life which customers want. To achieve this, the Product Owner does various activities that include creating the product vision, refining the product backlog, release planning, working with the customers, users, and other Stakeholders, managing the budget, launching the product, attending the Scrum meetings, and collaborating with the team.
Since the Product Owner must get input from other business Stakeholders, they need skills such as facilitation, conflict management, creative thinking, and the ability to influence the team and other stakeholders.
In the waterfall model of development, we have business representatives and business analyst providing the requirements. The Product Owner combines the authority and responsibility which is distributed across different roles, including the customer or sponsor, the product manager, and the project manager.
Responsibilities of a Product Owner
The Product Owner represents the product, has a broad understanding of the product and “lives and breathes” it. The Product owner is responsible for creating and prioritizing the product backlog, a dynamic list of features for the product. The Product Owner is responsible for prioritizing and deciding what needs to be in the product backlog.
The important qualities of a Product Owner include:
Visionary and Doer
The Product Owner is a visionary who can envision the final product and communicate the vision. The product owner is also a doer who sees the vision through to completion.
Leader and Team Player
As the individual is responsible for the product’s success, the product owner provides guidance and direction for everyone involved in the development effort and ensures that tough decisions are made.
At the same time, the Product Owner must be a team player who relies on close collaboration with the other Scrum team members, yet has no formal authority over them.
Communicator and Negotiator
The Product Owner must be an effective communicator and negotiator. The individual communicates with aligns different parties, including customers, users, development and engineering, marketing, sales, service, operation and management.
Empowered and Committed
The product owner must have enough authority and the right level of management sponsorship to lead the development effort and to align stakeholders.
The product owner must be committed to the development effort.
Available and Qualified
The Product Owner must be available and qualified to do a great job. Being a Product Owner is usually a full-time job. It is important to give products owners enough time to sustainably carry out their responsibilities.
The roles and responsibilities of the Product Owner are as follows:
The economic success of the project (controls the budget)
Gives direction and creates alignment
Aligns work of a team by prioritization and focus
Problem validation of product needs
Interface for customer and stakeholders
Voice of customer and stakeholders
Organizes customer feedback
Provides feedback to the teams
Pushes back if necessary to protect the product release planning
Defines and updates the product roadmap
Plans product releases
Manages Requirements/User stories
Defines product attributes & features
Writes User stories
Manages and prioritizes the product backlog
Defines constraints to increase focus
Risk management on a product level
Accepts or rejects work results
What is CSPO Certification?
The Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification from Scrum Alliance is a certification for the role of the Product Owner. This certification enables the participant to not only learn the basics but also take on the real-world problems that a typical product owner faces—emerging requirements, stakeholder conflicts and release planning.
The Product Owner certification training will help you to learn how to improve a product value by increasing the speed of delivery of product features, leading the Scrum teams and coordinating with the Stakeholders to know their excitement about the product. Also, the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification training leverages an effective communication between the Stakeholders and the development team about the final product to raise the product ROI to a maximum level.
CSPO Certification Benefits
CSPO certification offers the following benefits:
Increases the scope of your career opportunities across all industry sectors adopting Agile practices
Demonstrate and apply core Scrum knowledge
Understand the foundation of Scrum and learn about the scope of the role
Collaborate with Scrum practitioners committed to continuous improvement
In addition to fulfilling the role of the Product Owner on a Scrum Team, your CSPO certification gives you a two-year membership with Scrum Alliance®. For people pursuing a higher level of certification in Scrum, such as the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) designation, the CSPO provides attendees 16 Scrum Education Units to contribute to the total 70 SEUs they need to become a CSP.
The average Scrum Product Owner salary in India is 18 Lakhs per year.
The average salary of the Scrum Product Owner in the US is $ 100,831 per year.
The average salaries vary from city to city in different countries. Provided below are the salaries for a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO):
London: Pound 49,042
San Francisco: $ 139,115
Note: This data is based on the salary report by Glassdoor and Payscale.
Top companies hiring Certified Scrum Product Owners
Certified Scrum Product Owners are sought after by top companies around the world. Some of the top companies which are hiring Certified Scrum Product Owners are Intel, Siemens, Target, EY, GE Healthcare, Honeywell.
What are the requirements to become a CSPO?
Before becoming a Certified Scrum Product Owner, you must first familiarize yourself with Scrum. The best way to do this is by reading the Agile Manifesto and Scrum Guide and watching the Scrum Foundations eLearning Series.
Once you have completed these prerequisites, you must attend an in-person CSPO course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). The CSPO course is an in-person course that consists of two 8-hour days. In the course, you will learn the fundamentals of Scrum and the responsibilities of the Product Owner through exercises, discussions, and case studies.
The main topics of a CSPO course include:
Techniques for developing a Product Vision
How to create, maintain, and order a Product Backlog
How to identify user needs
An overview of sizing in Scrum
How to manage stakeholders
Certified Scrum Product Owner(CSPO) is a must-have certification for aspiring product owners or anyone who wants to work with the “business side” of projects. This certification ensures that you have a solid foundation to jump-start your career as a Product Owner.
Mukundan Bashyam has more than 15 years of IT experience working in different roles such as Agile Coach, Scrum Master, and Product Owner. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Master(CSM) and Certified Agile Coach from ICAgile. He is an accomplished Agile trainer for many organizations and a contributing author for KnowledgeHut. Mukundan has a Bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology (BHU)-Varanasi and a Master’s degree in Industrial Management from National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai. He has worked with startups and large companies like Hewlett Packard(HP), Target Corporation India, Diageo, and Robert Bosch.