What is a Product Owner: Career Overview, Responsibilities, and Skills Required

Are you exploring a job in product development? The product owner is one of the options that you often hear about. The demand for this job is high. The reason why the Product Owner plays a vital role in product development.

A development team will need clarification about what work must be completed first without a product owner.

Why does this happen? To understand it, we have summarized the product owner’s responsibilities along with the capabilities that must be possessed.

Product Owner Definition

The product owner is a job that has a vital role in the product development process. The demand for this profession continues and continues to be needed, especially amid the rapid development of the digital world.

In simple terms, a product owner can maximize the value of a product created and developed by a product development team or developer. The absence of this profession will make it difficult for the product development team to determine what work must be completed first.

According to Kenneth S. Rubin in his book entitled Essential Scrum, A Practical Guide to The Most Popular Agile Process, a product owner is someone with the sole authority who is responsible for deciding which features and functionality will be built in the product development process, along with the order in which they are made.

We can conclude that the product owner is the person who is responsible for maximizing the value of a product and determines what is a priority in the development process.

Job Description and Responsibilities

The product owner is the person who bridges business, IT, and UX (User Experience) design. He must ensure that the team creates a product with business value to be marketed to clients or anyone who needs the product.

Therefore, product owners are required to be able to apply software development methods, namely Agile and Scrum. Where Agile is a short-term methodology or system that requires rapid adaptation to all forms of change in software development.

While Scrum is a framework used to implement Agile development.

As previously mentioned, the product owner is also tasked with determining the priorities in the product development process. This list of priorities is called the product backlog.

In this case, the product owner is responsible for communicating the contents of the product backlog to the development team.

So, broadly speaking, the responsibilities of a product owner include the following:

  1. Write down the requirements for manufacturing a product that fits the client’s needs.
  2. Make a list of priorities related to the product manufacturing process, namely in the form of a product backlog.
  3. Deliver content based on priority orders or product backlog to be understood by the team

Required Skills

Several things must be mastered in this job with the various responsibilities he carries.

Summarized by the Scrum Alliance, Knowledge Hut, and UX Collective, the skills that product owners must have are:

1. Communication

One of the product owner’s significant responsibilities is to make the development team understand the product backlog. How do you make the development team understand what you mean as a product owner? The answer is through communication.

Therefore, communication is one of the skills that must be mastered by the product owner.

2. Set priorities

The product backlog consists of many things that must be done by a developer. Among all that must be done, the product owner must be able to determine which ones should be prioritized for work. After setting priorities, he must also focus first on what has been prioritized.

3. Developer Capabilities

The next skill that product owners must also have is the various abilities of developers. Not surprisingly, the product owner is responsible for delegating various jobs from the product backlog to the development team.

By understanding and mastering the various capabilities of the developer, he can more easily manage the team’s work technically.

4. Management Skill

Another capability that must be mastered by the product owner is management. The reason is he leads a team of developers in building a product.

This way, the delegation and division of tasks will be more straightforward.

5. Understanding of the product

Of course, understanding the product inside and out is necessary for a product owner to be able to manage the product backlog. By understanding the product’s characteristics, the product owner can choose priorities, which is the first thing to do.

Product Owner vs Product Manager

Explaining the difference between Product Manager and a Product Owner is challenging because it depends on each company.

These differences can be affected by product difficulty, organizational size, organizational structure, adoption of scrum and agile practices, and many others.

However, the Product Manager and Product Owner work for the same goal: to build and improve products to provide high value for customers and company stakeholders.

Product Manager is a role that strategically drives the development and launch of products to market and enhances the company’s products.

This role focuses on long-term strategy, product vision, market trends, and identifying new product opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Product Owner is the role whose job is to create a product backlog, a work list containing a priority scale of what the development team must do from start to finish.

However, both of them must also be able to raise customer problems with the development team about how product features match the wishes and expectations of customers.

Can Product Owner Become Product Manager?

The short answer to this question is “Absolutely!”

A Product Owner can become a Product Manager or vice versa.

Melissa Perri, CEO of Product Labs, explained that the role and responsibilities of a Product Manager will change according to the context and extent of the product stage being carried out. You can be both a Product Owner and responsible for the Scrum team.

In other words, there is an overlap between the work of the Product Manager and the Product Owner.

Theoretically, one person can perform both functions simultaneously.

This is usually run by startup companies that tend to be small and need more time to be ready to employ both organizationally and financially.

Does Both Needed by The Company?

Now, we know that a Product Manager can also be a Product Owner and vice versa, especially if the company is still on a small scale.

However, what if the company can hire Product Manager and Product Owner separately? Does the company still need both?To provide an answer to this question, companies must first focus on results, not job titles.

Both roles are based on company needs.Generally, the Product Manager role is more strategic and covers the entire product life cycle.

This role requires a lot of responsibility, from growing customer awareness to delivering products. Meanwhile, Product Owners focus more on specific product areas and work more closely with the developm

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