Product owner

  • Business value driver: All decisions and trade-offs, including when to stop the project, are made through considering which alternative gives the most business value now.
  • Daily decision maker: Be fully present with the team to engage in conversation and make decisions as they arise so that the team can move forward unimpeded.
  • Vision keeper: Keep the big picture of the product in the team’s sight, and direct them toward it each sprint.
  • Heat shield: Protect the team from all outside noise and pressure, allowing them to focus.
  • The one ultimately responsible: Be completely invested in the product. The team’s work is not just another job assignment—it matters to your career—so you graciously accept the burden of being the final person answerable for the business results of the product.



  • Committed to the work and engaged in it fully, like any other team member
  • Responsible for the outcome so that “skin in the game” is a reality
  • Authorized by the person paying the bills to make decisions about the product under development and to know which decisions can be made solo and which require consultation with others
  • Collaborative as a normal mode of interacting with people
  • Knowledgeable about the business purposes of the endeavor and the business domain itself


  • Interacting with the team: The product owner can detect the fine line between challenging the team and bullying the team and back away when they have come close to crossing the line. You have encouraged the positive ways in which the product owner interacts with the team and also coached the product owner to curb behaviors that undermine the team’s self-organization because it directly impacts their ability to deliver.
  • Practicing business-value-driven thinking: The product owner uses business-value-driven thinking in every decision, always asking, “What gives us the most business value now?” Things that don’t meet the business value bar, such as unnecessary or unimportant meetings, decisions, or details, get pushed away or eliminated. The product owner stays laser-focused on doing only what it takes to create a great product, always keeping the long-term value in mind so that short-term decisions don’t undermine and vice versa.
  • Creating, grooming, and using the product backlog: The product backlog is a living organism. The product owner uses it to adapt to new ideas and outside forces. It becomes more and more true to the actual need so that the team delivers the most valuable results as they become apparent. All stakeholders know where to view the product backlog to see how their desired feature compares with the others in terms of business value and, hence, the likelihood of getting created.
  • Removing impediments: The product owner gladly joins in with the team and agile coach to remove any impediment that threatens the momentum of the team or the quality of their results.
  • Managing stakeholders: The product owner uses an open and transparent product backlog to manage various stakeholders’ desires for the product. The product owner constantly works with stakeholders to understand their needs as they relate to the vision for the product. The product owner corrals all those stakeholder voices and turns them into one single, unambiguous voice so that the team knows what to work on next and how that fits with the overall vision of