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What it means to be a product owner

I run into a lot of people who don’t fully understand what it means to be a “Product Owner”. 

If you’re making product or service related decisions (features, service offering, design, etc) you’re a Product Owner.  If you’re a Solopreneur, you’re definitely a Product Owner.

Unfortunately, sometimes these people are on teams I work that specifically call for someone to serve the role of Product Owner within the guidelines of their framework (e.g. Scrum).

In the old days, this role used to be called a “Product Manager”.  But the role has evolved into something more autonomous, accountable and servant.

What do I mean by more autonomous, accountable and servant?

Autonomous means you have sole decision making authority for any product or service related decisions that need to be made.  New features to add, remove or modify.  New services to add, remove or modify.  You may seek feedback from others, but ultimately you have the final say.

Accountable means you are solely responsible for the delivery of value.  By that I mean the product or service being created.  You many work with others, like designers, programmers, writers, social media marketing experts, coaches, etc, but you and only you are accountable for what gets delivered (or not).

Servant means you work with others in a “servant leadership” way.  This simply means that although you may set out what needs to get done and in what order (vision, goals, priorities), you ensure they are clear to everyone and you trust and respect the people you work with on how they implement it.  You provide iterative feedback quickly and frequently to maintain alignment between what you expect and what is being created. This means you surround yourself with the best people you can.

If you can’t, you need to get there – now.

Chris PuglisiComment