In this article you would learn who is a Product Owner, and what are their roles and responsibilities while playing the role of a PO on a Scrum project. You would also learn about the CSPO® certification and its prerequisites, who all can attend the CSPO certification training and why should a PO get CSPO certified.
A product owner in Scrum is one of the three core roles and responsible for maximizing the value of the products and the work of the Scrum development team. This is a one-person role and is a bridge between the end-user and the development team. On the project, a PO plays different roles such as business strategist, product manager, product designer, market analyst, customer liaising and rarely Scrum Master. He or she has to be well versed with Agile/Scrum methodology.
The Scrum product owner is the point of contact on the product development team and uses a high-level perspective to define goals and creates a vision for the project. The PO is responsible for communicating with all stakeholders including customers, end-users and the development team to make sure that the goals are clear, and the vision is aligned with business objectives. This ensures that the team maintains a cohesive vision.
The PO is also responsible for creating a product roadmap for the Scrum project. This product roadmap is a high-level, strategic visual summary that outlines the vision and direction for the product offering over time and acts as a strategic guide for stakeholders to reference and is also used as an execution plan.
The development team’s to-do list and one of the most important responsibilities for a Scrum Product Owner is managing the product backlog throughout the project.
Based on the overall strategy and business objectives the product owners create the list of backlog items and prioritize them. They will also need to map out project dependencies with the required sequence of development.
The product backlog is a live document which is continually updated based on evolving project needs throughout development. Because it gets updated frequently, the product owner must make it accessible and available to all stakeholders, specifically the development team, to ensure optimized performance and project outcomes.
With the vision, product roadmap and product priorities set, the product owner should spend a significant amount of time overseeing the actual development of the product. They are a key contributor throughout each Sprint event including Sprint Planning, Backlog refinement, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.
During the planning stages, the product owner works with end-users to identify high-value items from the Product Backlog so that these items can be considered for the next Sprint or Iteration. At the end of every Sprint they will meet with the team to refine the process, identify areas for improvement and plan for the next sprint.
The Scrum Product Owner will be an expert at judging and anticipating the client’s needs to effectively manage the project and deliver a high-value product which can be used by everyone in the organization.
The product owner acts a link and is the primary communicator between the end-users and the development teams. They must be expert communicators, ensuring there’s buy-in from end-users on all major decisions strategically with clear instructions on deliverables for the developers.
The product owner is held accountable for each stage of the development process and the final product. They also take a prominent role in inspecting and evaluating product progress through each Sprint. The product owner is the one who makes the judgment call on the team's performance and decides if the team need to go back to the drawing board or they can move on to the next Sprint or next steps.
A Product Owner is also responsible for defining high-level stories and should possess good decision-making and interpersonal skills while working on a Scrum project.
CSPO stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. It is an industry recognized certification for Product Owners who are already in the role of a Product Owner, or novices who would like to understand the insights of a Product Owner role.
After attending the training, each attendee would have the necessary knowledge to play the role of a PO on any Scrum project.
What are the pre-requisites to become a CSPO®?
There are no specific prerequisites to attend a CSPO certification training course.
Who can attend the CSPO® training?
CSPO training can be attended by anybody who is knowledgeable and confident about the product under consideration, who is very good in communication, who is a good listener, who is focused on product development and who can quickly resolve issues and take decisions.
Before selecting a person to attend the CSPO training and later play the role of a Product Owner it is always advisable to estimate the time and effort required for the Product Owner role. The estimates will come handy when the person who wishes to play the role is made aware of the period of time for which they are required to be available for the Scrum project.
Suggested target audience could be –
Business Analyst: Business Analysts are better suited to play the role of a Product Owner as they have the required knowledge on how to handle the business requirements and supplement it with business analysis. They play a critical role in decision-making during business analysis.
Project Manager or Manager: Project Manager is another role that is available to a Product Owner. Project Managers are involved in project planning and executing of a project i.e. throughout the lifecycle of a project right from ideation to closure. Hence, they would be more effective on a Scrum project to play the role of Product Owner.
In many organizations the Business Analyst also plays the role of Project Manager. It is for this reason that many organizations prefer Project Managers to play the role of a Product Owner. If these Project Managers have a Certified ScrumMaster certification then it would add value.
Product Manager: Product Managers make very good Product Owners, as they have all the necessary knowledge about the product requirements based on strategic requirements and current market trends.
If the Product Manager has Business Analysis experience, then this can add tremendous value to the Scrum project if he or she is appointed to play the role of a Product Owner.
Functional Managers: Many organizations are structured by Functions and the Functional Managers report to the CEO. Functional Managers from any function would also be ideal to play the role of a Product Owner as they already have the necessary knowledge about the product, strategy and market trends. They understand the business requirements and they have been working with other functions during business as usual. They would also add value to the Product Owner role.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO): CEOs can be very good Product Owners as they would be having first-hand and complete information about the product, strategy and market trends. The CEO’s experience would be an asset to the Scrum project as they would be constantly thinking about how to achieve a high return on investment, how to engage the customers throughout the Scrum project, etc. All these qualities are already part of the CEO’s roles and responsibilities.
Every individual needs to decide, if they think certifications add value to their career. Certifications are proof of their achievement. Ultimately, it would be their expertise on the job, along with hands-on experience to play the role that matters for career advancement.
Individuals can take up a Product Owner certification
The industry is looking out for Certified Product Owners who can take up the role of a Product Owner in their organizations. The certification is a proof of your achievement, the knowledge you have gained and demonstrates that you would be able to work effectively throughout the Scrum project.
If you are a CSPO certified, your potential employers will be assured that you are the right person for handling the job and the project is in the safe hands.
Attend a live online or classroom course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC) in order to get the necessary knowledge and skills to be a successful PO.
Please note, classroom course offers an added value as a lot of doubts can get cleared during the training sessions. If you have attended a training conducted by a Scrum Alliance CST, then on successfully completing the course, you will be asked to accept the CSPO License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.
In this article you learnt who is a Product Owner, and the roles and responsibilities of a PO on a Scrum project. You understood more about CSPO certification and its prerequisites and why a PO should get CSPO certified. You also got to know who all can attend and benefit from the CSPO training.
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