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Who is an Agile Product Owner? Skills, Responsibility, Salary

19th Feb, 2024
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    Who is an Agile Product Owner? Skills, Responsibility, Salary

    For anyone who’s handling a project or is about to commence one - the best suit is to be ready for the most unexpected. Employers are on the lookout for product owners with exceptional technical knowledge, soft skills, and an adaptable mentality as these traits are typically the foundations for everything. Along with mastering these must-haves, you must also opt for Agile Management Certification to strengthen your profile against the competitive edge.

    But before we go there, we must know:

    • Who is product owner in agile?
    • What do they do?
    • Are they the same as the scrum product owner?

    In this section, we will discuss the agile product owner definition, their roles and responsibilities, and various agile methodologies along with an understanding of how they are different from scrum product owners. Let’s read all about it.

    The agile approach has developed as a potent tool to manage complicated projects and produce high-quality products in an environment where innovation is the key to success. As an Agile project manager, you aim to maximize the team's effectiveness and productivity. On the other hand, as an Agile Product Owner, you ensure that the product aligns with the customer's needs. It might be helpful to understand the function of product owners in an Agile setting.

    Enrolling for an Agile Management course certification is vital if you want to develop a thorough understanding of the discipline and succeed in your professional goals as a product owner.

    An reputed institution can better help you achieve your career goals.

    In this article, we understand the agile product owner definition in the agile context, explore their most important duties and look at the skills that might be useful for advancing your career as an agile product owner.

    Who is an Agile Product Owner?

    In an agile organization, the role of the product owner is to manage and prioritize the duties of the development team, ensuring that the company gets the most significant benefit from the team's work. The project manager in control of the product's development might be compared to an agile product owner.

    Product owners operate as a link between the tactical and strategic roadmap for the product. An agile product owner might be compared to the project manager in charge of the product's development. Product owners transform strategy into stories for the product backlog once they have received the high-level objectives and targets from product management.

    Product owners can be on the product management team, although they typically work in the development department.

    Agile Product Owner Roles and Responsibilities

    Agile product owners frequently participate in product development. Typically, their responsibilities include:

    1. Creating a vision for product development 

    All product development needs vision since it may help project team members and development teams concentrate on a common objective. An Agile product owner establishes the vision and makes plans for projects needing development.

    2. Defining user stories

    Team members develop user stories that outline the team's goals with the assistance of an agile product owner by creating a product order. The product order ensures a correct process in executing these stories and choosing the story sequences. The product owner offers explanations or guidance to enhance the succinct descriptions of a product's capabilities, characteristics, and what buyers may anticipate.

    3. Managing the product backlog

    An agile product owner maintains and manages a product development team's to-do list along with the product backlog. They compile a report of the project specifications and client demands and prioritize the list as per requirements. All team members are informed of the modifications by the product owner so they may modify their workflow.

    4. Prioritizing requirements

    Agile product owners may need to understand the needs and goals of the product as well as all stakeholders in order to be able to prioritize requirements. They could assess the project's budget, timeline, deadlines, and other elements to decide what to change and how.

    5. Understanding customer requirements

    An Agile product owner collaborates with their team to develop a product that meets the requirements of their customers. Agile product owners may conduct focus groups, interviews, surveys, and conversations with consumers to learn more about their motivations, objectives, and possible difficulties.

    6. Being a liaison for stakeholders and team members

    All projects, including product development, must include effective communication. The Agile product owner ensures that project teams and stakeholders are in close contact. While evaluating development, the readiness of deliverables, and the team's usage of budget dollars, they could meet with stakeholders. Product owners can also request approval from stakeholders for meaningful choices, budget hikes, or schedule modifications.

    7. Assessing product progression

    Agile product owners may evaluate it at various stages to guarantee that the development process complies with client requirements. They ensure developers adhere to the timeline, stay within the allocated budget, and integrate changes. However, if necessary, agile product owners can also request that the team go back to earlier stages to polish the product.

    Benefits of Using Agile Methods as a Product Owner

    The benefits of implementing the agile methodology for product owners include:

    1. Achieving a higher standard of product

    The iterative nature of agile places a high value on continuous testing to detect needed adjustments, fix problems, and adapt the product to ensure it satisfies market and user demands. Long-term, this results in greater product quality.

    2. Enjoy tighter control over product development

    Product owners can anticipate more influence over a product's development up to its release in agile workplaces. This boils down to thorough testing and incorporating user feedback into continuous development.

    Daily progress updates enable stakeholders to know about the product's development and ease any worries.

    3. Decreased danger of product failure

    By utilizing the sprint framework, agile methodologies allow product owners to assist development teams in meeting deadlines. Narrowing the team's focus and facilitating a cycle of effective delivery are made possible by breaking larger goals into simpler jobs. Completion doesn't happen "as and when" but follows a set process.

    Any problems that arise during one sprint may be examined and improved upon before the next. This implies that barriers that interfere with output, effectiveness, or quality may be prevented or removed.

    Agile Product Owner Skills

    The company and consumers may have different requirements for a product owner's success measures. These are some examples of abilities that can help you be successful in this position:

    1. Communication

    The Scrum process may require a product owner to draft and distribute product goals and backlog items. The product owner may collaborate with stakeholders, the scrum master, and other Scrum team members. They may be responsible for updating the Scrum masters and communicating the team's progress to the stakeholders. Clarity in communication can be crucial to the productive operation of the product-building team.

    2. Technical details 

    A technical understanding of project management, development, design, software engineering, and the Scrum methodology may be necessary for you to become a product owner. Your ability to predict how long the engineers will take to finish a project will depend on your understanding of the product development architecture. Knowing how user interfaces are designed might help you determine whether a product satisfies feature and quality standards. The information can also aid the choice of how to create and rank user tales.

    3. Critical thinking

    Making decisions that affect how the product turns out is part of the product owner's job description—choices like which components to add to the product backlog, which things to prioritize, and which tasks to drop if the project takes much longer than you anticipated are examples of these decisions. To optimize the efforts put into product creation, a product owner's critical thinking may entail detecting a future or present problem with the product, examining the feasible options, and making the best choice.

    4. Collaboration

    The product owner could interact actively with the software development team to create the product. The tasks involved in this job are defining the user features the engineers build, setting deadlines, and comparing the technical team's output to the client's needs. Working cooperatively with other groups to accomplish the same goal is necessary to finish this procedure. The product owner may also interact with consumers since these interactions help them comprehend their difficulties and choose the features that would best help them.

    5. Analytics

    The capacity to acquire knowledge to solve issues requires analytical skills. A product owner may assess issues and choose the best answers. These issues might include anything the user needs help making the product. The product manager may decide which activities are more critical for the software team to develop.

    Agile Product Owner Salary

    A quick Google search shows, the salary range for an Agile Product Owner in the USA is between $80,000 to $160,000 per year, depending on factors like experience, skills, etc.

    The average is somewhere around $109,000. Whereas the national average remuneration for Agile Product Owner in Singapore is $8,000 and in Canada it is $93,433.  

    Agile Product Owner Certifications

    There are several different Agile Product Owner certifications available, each with its benefits. Deciding which certification is right for you will depend on several factors, including your experience level, your desired career path, and your organization's needs.

    1. Entry-level certifications: Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), are designed for those new to the role of the product owner. These certifications introduce the basics of agile product ownership and can be a great way to start your career.

    2. Experienced product owners Certifications: Advanced certifications, such as the SAFe 4 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) or the Certified Agile Product Owner (CAPO). These certifications provide more in-depth coverage of agile product ownership and can help you take your career to the next level.

    3. Other Important Product Owner Certifications:

    As the demand for agile product owners grows, so does the need for agile product owner certifications. Many certifications are available, but not all are equal. Before investing in an agile product owner certification, make sure to research each certification to ensure it is recognized by employers and will help you advance your career.

    Difference Between Agile Product Owner and Scrum Product Owner

    Before we start with the skills for succeeding as an agile product owner, it's crucial to understand that agile and Scrum product owners are the same. Both entrepreneurs and recruiters often struggle with understanding this.

    In simple terms Scrum is a part of the Agile framework and it’s a simple framework that creates value for the products. The Scrum framework involves these four steps:

    1. The product owner requests products from the backlog
    2. During a short period, the scrum team completes one task at a time. This is referred to as a Sprint.
    3. The stakeholders and the scrum team review the results and make any required adjustments.
    4. The last step is the repetition of step 1, 2, and 3.

    The product owner's responsibility is to maximize the value of the product created by the scrum team.

    In this instance, the product owner is called a Scrum product owner. They  own the product, much like an Agile product owner. Whether a company employs the Agile technique or one of its variations, like Scrum, their duties and responsibilities are the same. Check out the Product Owner Certification course to gain the skills necessary to become a successful Agile product owner.

    What Kind of a Product Owner Would You Be?

    Product owners, whether agile or traditional, are in charge of looking after and managing the product backlog. Agile product owners must be at the top of their game since their position and duties are essential to the accomplishment of the product team. You must be eager to learn new things and expand your skill set if you want to succeed as an agile product owner. Check out KnowledgeHut’s Agile Management certification if you want to improve your knowledge and abilities as a product owner. You may quickly obtain the necessary abilities with the aid of this course.

    Be ready to take whatever steps are necessary to increase product value.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1How do you become a product owner in Agile?

    The following are the steps you may take to become an agile product owner:

    • Conduct research. In the agile process, a product owner's role is to guide the team's activities.
    • Pursue a career in training.
    • Connect with others and grow your neighborhood.
    • Get experience in your field.
    • Look for mentoring and direction.

    2What are the three pillars of product ownership in Agile?

    Successful product owners have a way of thinking that inspires the team to develop exceptional and cutting-edge features and products. The team's ability to produce high-quality software depends on their distinctive methodology.

    The three pillars of product ownership, value, decision-making, and engagement provide a concise summary of this attitude. Examine each of these in turn. Product owners must prioritize value at every stage and pay close attention to it.

    3Is Agile right for your product team?

    Agile is typically considered the best methodology when a product's needs may be ambiguous. Product owners may more effectively define these needs by working on user stories and creating a product backlog using the agile approach.

    This is less dangerous than just plunging a development team into the unknown without fully explaining what they are expected to accomplish.

    4Who does an Agile product owner report to?

    Stakeholders often get reports from agile product owners. They routinely communicate the current status of a product and offer progress reports. Any possible issues or hiccups can be resolved in time for the next sprint. To consistently guarantee value and happiness, this is essential.

    5Does the Agile product owner require coding?

    To be a product owner, you are not required to know how to code. But, programming expertise may aid you in making better decisions on the order and substance of the project tasks on the Product and Sprint Backlogs, as well as better Product and Sprint Objectives. Most product owners lack technical expertise.


    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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