Your Product Owner Journey

What is a Product Owner?

As the name suggests, a Product Owner is of course primarily responsible for a product. But in many respects, a Product Owner also acts like an entrepreneur within the company. Therefore, the person should also have mastered many of the tools and techniques that help entrepreneurs to run their business successfully.

A product can be software or a part of software, but it can also refer to other products, such as a business unit or a hardware product. Synonymous with a product you can also take an initiative for which a product owner is responsible.

Through product responsibility, product owners have the task of defining and prioritizing the “what” and thus the requirements of the product. This means that, in addition to the product, the management of the different requirements of the individual stakeholders and, above all, of the customers is also a priority.

The Product Owner Journey is very complex and exciting. On this page we will show you what the most important tasks, the biggest challenges and the best opportunities for advancement are. Find out for yourself whether you are up to the role of Product Owner and how you can become an outstanding Product Manager in an agile company.

The Product Owner Journey at Agile Academy

1

The beginning of your Product Owner Journey.

Certified Scrum Product Owner®

 

2

For experienced Product Owner.

Advanced Certified Product Owner

 

3

Become a Leader.

Certified Scrum Professional®-Product Owner

 

TBA

Skills

What skills does a product owner need?

First and foremost, a Product Owner must have domain expertise, which means he or she must be an expert in the target audience, their needs and potential competitive products. If a Product Owner does not yet have this expertise, then he or she must work towards gaining this domain expertise. In addition, communication skills are of great importance in this role, as a Product Owner must be able to communicate the context to the development team and stakeholders. The soft skills and knowledge listed below are important in daily work.

All this enables a product owner to perform his daily tasks in a goal-oriented manner and ensures that the work steps and stakeholder management are given sufficient weight.

Product Owner soft-skills

Social Skills

  • open and respectful interaction with people
  • visionary, imaginative and creative
  • passionate about inspiring others
  • stay focused and keep the overview
  • strong communication skills and the ability to say no
  • high communication skills in working with stakeholders
  • courageous, open and interested in improvement and further development
  • realistic and absolutely honest
  • decisive and ready not only to see their own mistakes, but also to take them into account in future decisions

Product Owner Knowledge

Empirical Skills

  • a given Domain expertise
  • good at analysing skills
  • estimating & prioritising
  • economic understanding of business and product processes

Tasks

Which tasks does a Product Owner have?

Depending on the status of the product and the Scrum Team, the tasks change. While with new products and teams, in addition to team finding, basic processes such as defining a product vision and creating an initial product backlog are among the main tasks of the product owners, with increasing maturity of product and team it is more likely to be things like:

  • Formulate the requirements and ideas of the stakeholders regarding the product from the user’s point of view, e.g. in user stories, and refine them together with the development team (product backlog refinement)
  • Analyze and assess: What business value does a user story have and what development effort is behind it?
  • Making decisions again and again: Which user stories are realized, which are not?
  • Prioritize: According to which order should the development team draw the requirements in the next sprint
  • Compare development results with acceptance criteria: Was the right thing built correctly?
  • Ensure fluent & functioning communication with and between stakeholders and team
  • Continually optimize the value of the work done by the development team and ensure that the product goals and missions are achieved in the best possible way

By focusing the Product Owner on the “what” in product development, the Product Owner’s daily tasks can influence the team’s work. This often leads to a natural tension between the roles. By following the processes in a neutral mediating role, the Scrum Master makes sure that the Product Owner “What” and the “How” of the Development Team go hand in hand in the best possible way.

What does a Product Owner not do?

A Scrum Product Owner is not a project manager in the typical (waterfall) sense. Rather the role is responsible for all product decisions. However, tasks such as the control, distribution and implementation of requirements are the responsibility of the development team and are accompanied by the Scrum Master in terms of process technology.

Thus there is a clear division of responsibilities (similar to a separation of powers) and a certain sequence of rituals and tasks. Thus the activities are far away from typical project management.

Classical overhead tasks such as management presentations, lengthy budget negotiations and target agreements are not described by the Scrum Framework, but are nevertheless often tasks that product owners take over.

Requirements

Which Requirements are Placed on a Product Owner?

The product-related approach requires a holistic view from the product owner. Depending on the type, scope and maturity of the products, the time spent on certain things may vary, but as a rule, the demands on a Product Owner are above all:

  • Maximizing the product and work value of the team. That means above all the constant examination of economic efficiency, resource use and feasibility, or to put it simply: Return on Invest
  • Optimize and complete the product requirements within the product backlog
  • Creating transparency between the requirements and the given possibilities and personnel resources
  • Prioritize features and sub-products within the Scrum process
  • Refining and formulating team tasks
  • Tracking the product vision and product maturity
  • Participation in the Scrum Rituals as well as stakeholder communication and stakeholder management

Certification

What Certifications are Available?

There are only two globally recognized certifications for the Product Owner role. This is on the one hand the seal of the Scrum Alliance and on the other hand the participation in a course at Scrum.org.

The Scrum Alliance is by far the largest and best known not-for-profit organization with over one million members. Certified Scrum Trainers® (CST), of whom there are currently about 250 in the world, give their courses in a holistic business context. This means that not only the role itself is addressed, but also the company context is taken into account. According to the claim: “Transforming the World of Work” the Scrum Alliance sees its mission more holistically than Scrum.org.

Certifications should be refreshed regularly, which is why most companies also want to have a certification in their job advertisements that was completed a maximum of two years ago. While a refresher at Scrum.org is not planned, the Scrum Alliance and also here at the Agile Academy offer several possibilities to renew your Product Owner certification.

On the one hand the Scrum Alliance offers so-called Scrum Education Units (SEUs). These can be collected at various events and events and exchanged for a recertification every two years. One option for Agile Academy Alumni is for example the free participation in the Agile100 online conference, which takes place every month. Only the issuing of the new certificate is charged with a small contribution from the Scrum Alliance.

Another possibility is the participation as an observer at a regular certification training of the Agile Academy. As a Certified Scrum Product Owner you can repeat the Product Owner training within two years for a small contribution towards expenses and get credited as SEUs. This is an exclusive offer for alumni of the Agile Academy.

At Scrum.org such re-certifications are not provided for, which is why here you have to repeat the course and the exam again if you need a re-certification.

How do I become a Certified Product Owner?

To be considered a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) by the Scrum Alliance, you need the two to three day training to become a CSPO with a trainer recognized by the Scrum Alliance as a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®).

All offered Product Owner Courses as well as the trainers of the Agile Academy have this certification, which is why all participants are considered Certified Scrum Product Owner® after successful participation.

In contrast to the Scrum Master certification, this training does not end with a written test. The regular and active participation is sufficient for the certificate as a trained Product Owner.

The difference between the two and three-day variants is not the conclusion itself, but the depth of the topics. In addition to introducing the basics of Scrum and explaining the roles, the three-day course offers a deeper insight into the tools and techniques that a Product Owner needs in his daily work. Here a comprehensive insight into known and less known working techniques is given, which for example also include the basics of Design Thinking. The two-day course, on the other hand, dispenses with the introduction to the basics and merely introduces the more general tools for daily work.

Shortly before the start of the course, all prospective Product Owners will be sent a starter package with information, which includes the services to be provided in advance but which are manageable. A look into the knowledge area of the Agile Academy for the appropriate role usually provides good advance information with which to start the course.

Your Product Owner Journey

What makes a good Product Owner?

Certification alone does not make you a good product owner. Rather, the courses offer the basis for the technical consolidation of the product knowledge already acquired. At the Agile Academy, we offer opportunities for each type of learner to deepen and improve their skills. For example, there is a long list of recommended books for autodidacts or the opportunity to participate in the Agile100 online conference free of charge and get inspired. There are also video materials and further recommendations in the knowledge area.

In addition, there are a number of further training opportunities to help you develop your skills. In addition to paid training sessions on special deep dives for product owners, such as design thinking, business model design or visualizations, there are also thematic deep dives.

After you have gained the first experiences as a Product Owner, you can attend the Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® certification course. Prerequisites are a (re-)certification not longer than two years ago and at least one year of active work as a Product Owner.

The Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner certification is therefore aimed at experienced product owners who want to deepen their knowledge or prepare themselves for further tasks, such as a Chief Product Owner role.

Even without paid further training, you can constantly improve and learn more. A gladly chosen possibility are the so-called Lean Coffees or Scrum tables. Both events are offered regularly in all major cities in Germany and allow a deeper engagement with the topic. In addition, SEUs can be purchased at the full evening Scrum tables.

The professional exchange is extremely important for product owners. Together with others, questions can be clarified and challenges can be mastered which, especially as the sole product owner in the company, cannot be solved so easily.

How to become a Product Owner?

Basically, you can take over the tasks of a product manager at any time and grow into the role. Most product owners actually start by taking on more responsibility in the company and at the same time introducing digital transformation as well as the Scrum Framework or other agile processes.

This change naturally increases the demand for people who can and want to take on the most important agile roles. Especially Scrum Master and Product Owner have a great responsibility, which they partly hand over to the other team members.

In order to better understand the new structures, processes and working methods, many prospective Product Owners attend suitable further education and training courses, e.g. a Certified Scrum Product Owner® course at the Agile Academy.

These trainings are available as two and three day seminars and they introduce the participants to the agile basics, show the typical functions of the roles and deal in detail with the tasks of the Product Owner. To learn the tools and techniques of a great Product Owner in a systematic and practical way, we strongly recommend the 3-day courses.

The Product Owner Journey at Agile Academy

1

The Beginning of your Product Owner Journey.

Certified Scrum Product Owner®

 

2

For experienced Product Owner.

Advanced Certified Product Owner

 

3

Become a Leader.

Certified Scrum Professional®-Product Owner

 

TBA

Money

How much does a Product Owner earn?

The relevant jobpages and salary reports fluctuate more strongly for the salaries for Product Owners than for the role of a Scrum Master. On the one hand, this can be due to the industries and products for which a Product Owner is sought, but it can also be caused by mixing with the non-agile Product Manager. Depending on whether agile Scrum Product Owners or Product Managers are sought and described, the salaries here again vary considerably.

Scrum Product Owners have a similar average salary as the other roles and range from 50 to 65,000 Euros. About 50% of the income is in this range.

However, depending on the place of residence, work experience and industry, fluctuations are of course also apparent here. In addition, team size, product maturity and Scrum experience can also play a role. We think that good Product Owners, who actually act like entrepreneurs, can and should earn far more than the average.

Literature

What books are available for product owners?

If you want to develop yourself as a Product Owner, there is a variety of literature you can read in addition to the meetings. Worldwide known are certainly the books (among others “Agile Product Management with Scrum”) and also the blog of Roman Pichler.

But also “Product Mastery” by Geoff Watts or “User Story Mapping” by Jeff Patton give a good insight into the tasks of product owners.

Noch mehr über den Product Owner lesen?

Wir haben eine große Sammlung an interessanten Artikeln zum Thema Product Owner für dich zusammengestellt. Wenn du dich für die Product Owner Rolle interessierst, bist du hier genau richtig – egal ob du gerade erst damit anfangen oder dir frische Ideen holen möchten.

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We accompany you on your agile journey!

Besides the certified trainings of the Product Owner Journey, we offer various in-depth courses that support you in various everyday situations as a Product Owner to get the best out of your product.

Agile Academy

Advanced Courses for the Product Owner Journey

Design Thinking

With the help of the Design Thinking method you learn to understand your users better and to develop new products, prototypes and ideas from this knowledge. Design Thinking will also help you make better decisions and prioritize the many great ideas that emerge.

In our Design Thinking Workshop you will learn the tools you need to get started.