The mighty Product Owner – your handy (wo)man

You might think that the Product Owner is meant to oversee the creation and update of the roadmap strategy, team vision and team’s backlog.

Also, it might occur to you that Product Owner actively participate in daily scrums, grooming sessions, planning meetings and sprint reviews.

You could say that Product Owner is member of an Agile team responsible for the maximizing product value.

Would you also say that Product Owner is an experienced UI/UX designer? Responsible for DB scheme? Responsible for software architecture and actively coding? Making coffees for the grumpy team members? Singing to the technical lead to amuse him (her)?

What do you mean no? True story. Some people turned to me asking for an advice and clarification of the Product Owner role. I was truly surprised with what I heard, so… I started examining Product Owner job description.

My little project showed me that Product Owner and Manager roles are sometimes lacking uniformity.

I started wondering – how come developers’ job description is almost always clear and uniform (in a way that employer expects from them to code and nothing else)? And I’m not trying to downplay the developer’s role or how difficult their job is.

Point is that when I opened 20 different Product Owner job adds I found different job descriptions. Spanning from plumber to somewhat Product Owner.

Agile community exists for a few decades now, my certification was granted by people teaching Agile for almost 30 years. And yet, Product Owner and Manager roles might be blurry to some people.

Fortunately, most people do get what Product Owner and Manager roles are, and where they fit.

Long story short: if you’re just trying to fill some staffing gaps in your company, but you’re not exactly sure what is missing, do not ask for Product Owner or Manager. Take time to understand what/who is missing, do not just hire people and offload variety of tasks on them, even though it’s not what they are supposed to do. Otherwise, you will have an unsatisfied employee on your hands very soon.

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