A Product Owner is a role defined in Scrum. Scrum is a framework for complex product development (*). The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work performed the Development Team. The role exists in Scrum to have 1 person with a clear accountability of WHAT product or service will be built. The Product Owner role is also used as a title outside Scrum, in other frameworks, but if you want to understand the definition of the role and responsibilities of a Product Owner, you need to start to look and to understand it in the scope of a Scrum Team.
(*) (“product”, to be defined in context, this is a generic term for the product or service being developed for the end-users)
(*) (“development”, also to be defined in context, this is a generic term for all activities needed to create and deliver value to the end-users)
A Certified Scrum Product Owner is a certification issued by the Scrum Alliance for the Product Owner role.
A Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product (or service, …) being built. The Product Owner is responsible for WHAT will be built by the development team
The role of the Product Owner can be quite challenging and high-demanding.
When reading The Scrum Guide, it says that product backlog management is the main activity for a Product Owner. The product backlog is a tool to ensure it’s clear what’s needed in the product and what’s the most valuable thing to build next. Managing a backlog, and refining items on the product backlog is a continuous activity.
The Product Owner often serves as the spokesperson for the product. This means he/she needs to be able to answers questions appropriately, for example regarding product vision, roadmap, planning, why certain choices have been made, etc. This also includes NOT answering certain questions, because the Product Owner knows the development team is in a more appropriate position to answer the question more accurately, and as well to facilitate a conversation with the development team involved.
The strategic significance of the CSPO®
The Product Owner role in Scrum is a role, both with a tactical, strategic and operational aspect.
The Product Owner is the personification of the end-users, customers, business stakeholders. He or she represents the different views, perspectives and he or she is finally accountable for maximizing value.
To be able to do the job, the Product Owner has business (domain) knowledge, affinity with end-users, affinity with “development” (activities needed to deliver a piece of value), and knowledge of how to do agile product management. Product management is a multi-disciplinary job.
Sometimes, a Product Owner is a role given to a person, as an additional role to his/her existing function. To my experience, a Product Owner requires at least half the time of a normal day job.
I have seen Product Owners who were not involved in the necessary activities. Given below are the duties crucial to any Product Owner.
CSPO® stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. It’s the initial (entry-level) certification of a Product Owner. Scrum Alliance is the accredited body of the CSPO® . Now, let’s see the steps for becoming CSPO® .
There are no specific prerequisites to attend a course. To take the CSPO® certification exam, Scrum Alliance makes it a prerequisite to attend a 2-day class given by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). After completing the 2-day class you are invited to take the online test.
Anyone interested in the Product Owner can take up this course.
A CSPO® certification is accreditation and a proof of a body of knowledge at a specific point in time. The industry is asking for certifications, so if you want to take up the Product Owner role, a certification can give you this extra accreditation.
CSPO® is an abbreviation which stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by the Scrum Alliance, specifically for the Product Owner role. PSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Profession Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by scrum.org, specifically for the Product Owner role.
In my opinion, both certifications are equivalent and define a high-quality standard.
There’s a difference in the way of obtaining certifications and how to maintain this.
Certifications issued by Scrum Alliance are obtained by taking an online exam after mandatory attending a 2-day training given by a Certified Scrum Trainer. The pass acceptance score is 24/35 questions (65%). Obviously, this is not particularly difficult to pass, but it’s not meant to be.
Certifications issued by scrum.org are obtained by taking an online exam without the prerequisite of attending training.
Certifications issued by scrum.org do not expire. Of course, to test and validate your knowledge, having a decent understanding of the product owner role is mandatory, therefore preparation and study are key. Participating in training to learn, and to experience what Scrum is about, is always highly recommended. You can study the PSPO Subject Areas.
You need to decide for yourself if you think certifications are an added value. Eventually, it’s about a hands-on experience in the role. I do think that classroom course offers an added value
Please bear in mind that the certification is proof of classroom attendance and passing an online test. It’s the start of one’s career as a Product Owner. Next, you can advance your career and take part in advanced training.
Certification gives you access to a renewable, two-year membership with Scrum Alliance. The certification is 2 years valid. You can read here how it works to renew your certification.
1. Find a Certified Scrum Product Owner course on the Scrum Alliance website
2. Prepare for the training
Read and understand the Scrum Guide
Read and understand the manifesto for agile software development
3. Attend the 2-day course. Enjoy!
4. Complete the online CSPO® exam, the fee is included in the course price.
After completing the course, your Scrum Trainer will upload your user information into the system of Scrum Alliance, next you’ll receive an invite to do the online exam.
Salary and career growth of Certified Scrum Product Owner vs Non-certified Scrum Product Owner
Here, you can see an overview of the certifications path offered by the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org. According to the 12th state of the Agile report by VersionOne, the chapter is about “Agile Methods and Practices”, having a dedicated customer or product owner is a technique indicated by 63% of the respondents.
In the 2017 State of Scrum report (by Scrum Alliance), 40% of certifications are Certified Scrum Product Owner. 81% agree that certification improves practice.
Being a product owner is a satisfying job! If you get a certification it will add an extra line on your curriculum which will catch the eye of recruiters. Besides that, it’s a learning journey and you’ll only understand the traits of the job by experience. Get your CSPO® certification today.
Have a successful career ahead!
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