A product owner is…
Available—Being available is key, because you are the single source of truth for the Product. That means you have to be there for anyone who has a question. You need to attend every Spring Planning and Retrospective. There is no one formula for availability, however. Each Product Owner needs to find the right balance for themselves.
Accountable—Accountability is not just for the doing of the Product Owner job (vision, roadmap, prioritizing, Product Backlog,). You are also accountable for the value delivered from the Product, as well as the financials of the Product. You need to focus on delivering return on investment (ROI) to the customers and to the Organization.
Empowered—Empowerment comes from the culture of the Organization. The Org must respect the decisions made by the Product Owner, even if mistakes are made.
Knowledgable—This comes from all angles. You need to be knowledgeable about the Product, the process, the Team, the technology, the market, the Product strategy, the competition, the marketing, the legal and compliance aspects. Knowledge is important because you are the single source of truth as the Product Owner.
A good exercise is to present these core elements to a Product Owner and ask how they’re doing—are they available, accountable, empowered, and knowledgeable? If the answer is “not so great,” then the next question becomes what needs to be done to become stronger in these four elements?
Another more in-depth look at the success of a Product Owner is going through our Product Owner Action Plan checklist. Download our new Product Owner Action Plan here!