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What is the role of the Product Owner in agile?

Product OwnerThe Product Owner (PO) Plays extremely important role while working Agile Scrum. Product Owner is responsible for success or failure for the project. Product owner is the person who decides what to build and has business vision of the application.

His primary responsibility to spread his vision and thoughts to Scrum team(s) so that The Team can convert his vision and thoughts into an application.

Who should be Product Owner?

If we look at the different types of industries like Product Company and consulting firm then different people plays role of Product Owners.
· In product companies, usually this role is being played by Product Manager / Program Manager. Product manager has the complete vision of the product and he the person who usually decides the features list in the product.
In consulting firms, this role is played by the clients. If the project is big then there could be no. of Product owners (Mostly divided component/feature wise). Some times it’s found that Client delegate the certain Product Owner’s responsibility to ScrumMaster or Delivery manager.

What are the roles and responsibilities of Product Owner?

1) Creates and maintain the product backlog: this is primary responsibility of the product owner to create the backlog items such as Epics and Stories. Sometime Product owner also creates the tasks for the sprint in case “The Team” is new to Agile. Product owner needs to elaborate the Epics and Stories created and during sprint planning, it’s his/her responsibility to ensure that all team members understand it correctly.
Once “The Team” starts building the product then Product owner maintain and update the product backlog accordingly.
2) Backlog Prioritization and sequence as per the business values: After Creation of backlog, Product Owner needs to prioritize the Epic, Stories and Tasks to ensure that product is building in the right way and getting high business values and ROI. Product Owner should prioritize the backlog well in advance (at least 2 sprints before) so that Team can look at it and work accordingly. Backlog usually ordered in High priority to low priority so the tasks at the top get considered during Sprint planning.
3) Keep team updated with changes and Goal: Time to time Product owner should communicate the team about any changes in the vision or goal. Its Product Owner’s responsibility to make sure that Team is not diverting from Goal and they know what they are building.
4) Act as Approver: Product Owner is the approver for sprint delivery, Product owner decides the Criteria for sprint closure. This typically includes  Tasks status, Defect fixes and Test execution. Product Owner review the tasks in the sprint and take the actions accordingly, if the sprint tasks are getting spilled over due to valid reasons then PO put the tasks to backlog and closes the sprint or tasks got spilled over to the next sprint and sprint remains open till the spilled over tasks gets fixed. There are different ways that PO can take decision on the sprint. Even PO can terminate the sprint if he/she found the way the work is being done is not right or scope the task is changed or task has dependency which realize during the sprint and missed during planning.
5) Product Owner is mediator: PO also mediator between the team and Stakeholder, may be PO is one of the Stakeholder. PO needs to update everyone about the project status and makes everyone happy.

What are the Qualities and characteristics of the Product Owner?

1) Leader and Team Player
2) Empowered
3) Available
4) Prepared
5) Communicator and Negotiator