7 Skills You Need to Be a Great Product Owner

“Be my superhero—your donation is the cape to conquer challenges.”

Powered byShalomcharity.org - our trusted charity partner

Donate now!

"A small act of kindness today could be the plot twist in my life story.”

Powered byShalomcharity.org - our trusted charity partner

Donate now!


7 Skills You Need to Be a Great Product Owner

Arul Raju

Published November 30, 2021

Subscribe to the blog

The entire job profile or role of a product owner involves applying multiple skill sets with a broad perspective of subjective knowledge. Along with technical skills, a product owner must be adept at effective communication and multitasking. 

What are the particular skill sets that put a product owner ahead of the rest? Let us dig into the specifics and the strategy for becoming a successful product owner.

1. Communication

Product owners are responsible for communicating with all stakeholders, including customers, directors, and the development team, to ensure that objectives are clear and the vision is consistent with the business objectives. Product owners collaborate with stakeholders, developers, scrum masters, and so on. An agile product owner is the contact person in the team who uses his/her high-level perspective to define goals and develop a vision for a development project.

Product owners must work closely with the company to understand its vision and how the development team will make it a reality. They manage the feedback from businesses and lead the team, but usually, they have no say in certain inquiries.

This depends, of course, on whether the team develops commercial software, software for internal use, hardware, or another type of product. Each team member has their expectations and skills to invest in the success of products. Different product types show that the frequency with which the development team works on technical acceptance criteria, reaction time, storage space, operational capability, and so on, varies widely. 

Product owners use product analytics capabilities to prioritize residues, communicate effectively, and organize the many moving parts of a development project. An experienced product owner takes care of troubleshooting with your engineering, sales, and customer service teams, ensures quality control, and manages product residues for sprints and iterations. With a plethora of tasks to be delegated to team members and requirements to be communicated, top management skills are crucial for product owners.

Once a product is built, the product owner should gather feedback from key stakeholders and users and forward it to the software development team to make the necessary changes. This helps the product owner address any problems he or she might have in relation to the project participants and the scrum team. This also creates a positive environment and makes things smoother between the team and the product owner. 

2. Project management 

To be a scrum master, you must have great conflict management skills, help others solve their problems, and work with them to build a powerful and harmonious team. Scrum masters support the development team and product owner's ineffective management of product inventories and are integrated into all phases of product inventory maintenance. They also help the product owner with scrum events, product planning, and identification of residues with the development teams.

By serving the team, the product owner and the entire organization create powerful teams with valuable products and an efficient organization capable of achieving business goals and satisfying customers. 

You can view a complete list of the tasks a product owner can perform, including a set of product goals, definitions, stakeholder management, and complete levels of product responsibility. A team can include business professionals who help develop and define the product, technical experts who are part of the development team, and stakeholders with specific expectations of the project. An informal team to help you can involve masters and various members of the product development team if you wish.

One of the most unusual aspects of product ownership responsibilities is that you must be constantly at the disposal of the development team to answer questions from team members about customer opinions and the implementation of product features. A crucial role in software development projects is played by the team lease job, which helps with development and acts as an intermediary between developers and the project sponsor. This role must be available so that the team is aware of the backlog and has decision-making power. 

Product owners do not work as part of the development team, but for a product to succeed and maximize its value, they need to work closely with the team. A product owner is responsible for communicating with all stakeholders on board, including customers, directors, and development teams, to ensure that the objectives are clear and that the vision matches the business objectives. An agile product owner is the point of contact for the team and uses his/her high-level perspective to define goals and develop a vision for the development of the project. 

Success as a product owner requires several other key competencies including product development, product management, business analysis, storyboarding, time management, domain knowledge, and flexibility. Product development must take place, involving technical capabilities. It must learn to rely on partners and assemble a team of technical experts.

3. Creativity

Product ownership requires strong decision-making powers. For great product management, it is essential to enable your team to make their own decisions and create a common approach to make decisions, set criteria, and escalate decisions.

The product owner has the responsibility to create the project list of development teams and prioritize it according to the overall strategy and business objectives. The product owner must map the project dependencies and communicate the necessary development sequence. A scrum master supports the development team and the product owner in the effective management of product inventories. 

Nowadays, they have to roll up their sleeves and help the team achieve their goals for every sprint. Agile PO prioritizes product congestion during sprint planning sessions, where the team selects how much work they think they need to do per sprint and how many sprints are needed. Once the team members know what they are capable of, they select user stories at the top of the backlog they want to deliver per sprint.

This means they can collect and analyze information in time, solve complex problems and make decisions to improve productivity. Product ownership requires strong decision-making powers because decisions need to be informed. This means that in addition to product management, there are different requirements for individual stakeholders and customer priorities.

Never forget the fact that as a product leader, you need to do what's best for your team to set it up for success and give it space to do what it does best for you and your product to succeed. Some organizations interpret the role of the product owner differently and see no autonomy, but a product owner should make decisions that are not tied to budget constraints or strategic direction and should be led by the leadership team and CEO.

An agile product owner has to make several daily decisions about which items should be added to the product inventory, how to prioritize them and how to communicate the best with the same scrum team. The PO defines the product vision, arranges the residues, prioritizes them, monitors and controls the development process, and concludes projects that have been completed.

4. Managing product backlog

The product owner is a member of the management team that controls the entire product development process of an organization. Some organizations interpret the role of product owners differently and feel the product owner's autonomy to make decisions are not tied to budget constraints or the strategic direction guided by the management teams or the CEO. 

For example, if the team does not do Scrum or Kanban, a product manager can prioritize, and the team plays a big role in making sure that everyone is on the same page.

A product owner creates a list of all the items and rearranges them as per priority in the to-do list. The list will have objectives that are majorly aligned with the business needs and brand strategy. Once the project deliverables are identified, additional steps are taken to ensure that things are kept in order and are deployed within a stipulated time frame.

The product backlog architecture is not static; it is subject to conditional requirements and must be constantly refreshed with the updated project layout throughout the development stage. 

The product owner is an important stakeholder in the scrum team and the scrum master supports the product owner in backlog management by supporting Scrum events, product planning, and backlog detection. The scrum master supports the development team and product owner for effective management of product inventories. The scrum master is integrated into all phases of product inventory maintenance. The product owner helps with Scrum events and product planning and identifies residues with the team.

5. Analytical and technical expertise 

Several tasks, including supervising the team of engineers and developers and leading product development from ideation until completion, require both hard and soft skills. Analytical skills, technical expertise, and communication skills top the skill list. 

The SCRUM Framework defines three roles:

  •  scrum master, 
  • product owner,
  • and the development team.

The product owner is responsible for ensuring that the work of the development team delivers a valuable business mission and capability at the expense of time - which is very important.

Product managers must possess analytical skills and know how to use data to crunch numbers and create solutions for business strategy, product development, and price prospects. Product analysis managers need analytical skills like understanding how data can be used for competitive advantage and working with marketing, sales, and customer service teams to maximize profits.

Product owners use product analytics capabilities and product analysis managers have the organizational skills to ensure their results, report them to the management, and resolve problems with the engineering team when things aren't going according to plan. They are also able to conduct marketing research and interpret the results for their teams, customers, investors, and executives, who rely on them to make decisions.

Product managers working on virtual products, such as software apps, should be able to work closely with engineers on their team to identify performance flaws and ensure that the product is on an equal footing in terms of function, design, and user experience. Product owners should be technically sound enough to discuss technical architecture, solutions, and approaches with the team to ensure that products are scalable and built sustainably, taking into account current, potential, and future needs. A product owner is a complex role in agile project management, a varied role that requires a mix of multiple skills and experiences for high performance.

 6. Anticipating client needs

 A product owner must have in-depth knowledge of the market and excellent communication skills in order to respond to the needs of customers and develop the products they need. The product owner's job description states that he or she must work closely with stakeholders to meet the requirements of users and customers.

 The primary responsibility of product owners is to ensure that the product produces value for its customers, users, and the company. By understanding the needs and customer requirements of the product, the sector that employs product owners has a responsibility to take care of the needs of customers and to help the development team achieve the vision of the product.

In today's competitive environment, it is important that the role of the product owner is to understand customer and customer needs. Product owners can do a lot to understand customer needs and represent customer and stakeholder interests by looking at other sources such as books for professional product owners, content for professional scrum, and product owner training. In addition to these sources, we should look at the successful scrum teams we have worked with whose product owners have a good understanding of customer needs, desires, values, and goals, which they share with the team and stakeholders to improve customer focus and understanding.

If you anticipate what customers want, you can create content and expand your products, features, and services to meet those needs. Don't forget to change your strategy as your business grows, as the needs of your customers change with time and your products and features will evolve. You have to take time to understand what your customer wants and adapt your product, services, and customer support accordingly.

The product owner assumes the position of a customer representative and tends to focus on helping other people on the development team and others understand and benefit from customers' needs, challenges and pain. Product managers are servants of two masters and the way to bridge the gap between the needs of customers and the business needs of the company. 

In order to reduce the number of support tickets, products and services must be developed that take into account the needs of target customers and provide effective solutions to customer problems. A customer-oriented mindset is a way of doing business that focuses on creating a positive customer experience of the products or services the company offers. By developing a customer-centric culture, you can emphasize the impact of your customer's experience with your products and services.  

7. Problem-solving attitude

The only way to be a better product owner is to keep testing your limits by constantly updating yourself. Technical skills are easy to acquire with time and advanced-level courses can speed up the process. Soft skills on the other hand require time, effort, and experience. Working on communication and teamwork skills takes a lot of hard work and goodwill.

A product owner is an example of a complete packaging solution that gives an end-to-end curated solution - a right mix of soft and technical skills with a hint of strong will and the right problem-solving attitude. 

The skill sets explored in the article will help you become the product owner every organization needs, and the right implementation strategy can help achieve scalable results overtime for any project.

To know more, click here.

Master high-demand skills that will help you stay relevant in the job market!

Get up to 70% off on our SAFe, PMP, and Scrum training programs.

Let's talk about your project.

Contact Us