Scrum, with its strict set of roles in the team, is currently the most popular agile methodology. Developers are responsible for delivering the product. They work in self-organized groups and assign the daily goals by themselves during the daily scrum meeting. Scrum Master makes sure, that everybody understands his role and the meaning of scrum methodology in delivering the product.
The Product Owner is responsible for the product development and the vision behind it. What’s more, he sets down the priorities and keeps an eye on the list of functional requirements. In fact, he is the one who guides the team and aims to deliver the best quality achievable.
The Product Owner is regarded, no surprise, as an owner of the product. Thus, the final construction of the solution is entirely up to him. What’s more, he is responsible for the effect, and that makes him the only decisive person in the team. He decides what to do, when and in which order.
The scrum methodology implies that the Product Owner shall be the client’s representative in the IT delivering company. It doesn’t mean that he must be the client’s employee, but it is both possible and desirable. Although the developers deliver the product, the Product Owner show them the way to go and thus, he makes sure the client gets what he needs. He is a real customer’s ambassador in the IT company even when the client is not his employer.
The backlog is the essential tool for Product Owner’s trade. It consists the lists of products requirements and desired functionalities. The document shall be easily accessible for the development team to make sure, that they can quickly check the upcoming tasks. The details vary on the project. The backlog of the solution built from scratch will look different from the backlog of the heavily patching the existing software.
Running the backlog to be both precise and useful is one of the most critical tasks of the Product Owner.
Product Owner shall participate in the sprint planning. He has to decide what value to deliver during the upcoming iteration - which features to add and bugs to remove. Thus, the goal of the sprint shall be forged collectively by the Product Owner and the development team.
Although it is not necessary for him to participate in the daily scrum, it is common, as he is the one to answer all the questions regarding the project swiftly.
Apart from meetings with the development team, the Product Owner has to stay in touch with the client. As his ambassador, he is responsible for making sure he is well informed, and everything is going to deliver him the best value possible.
The flexibility, considered as the scrum’s most significant advantage, makes modifying the product during the development possible. It is achievable only due to Product Owner’s hard work.
Running the backlog, managing the teamwork, setting goals and meetings with both the developers and the client implies that Product Owner should be an excellent communicator. He must be charismatic enough to inspire the team to work hard without the toxic pressure.
On the other hand, the Product Owner should be hard enough to withstand the pressure from both the client’s and team’s side. His duty is to defend the client’s interests, but he must know when to oppose or suggest the other way.
In fact, Product Owner, not the Scrum Master, is the manager in scrum methodology. His role is the closest one to the classical project manager. It is his job to make sure that, the client gets the software he needs, built with the best possible standards.