We have the answers to your questions! - Don't miss our next open house about the data universe!

Product Owner: everything you need to know about this job

- Reading Time: 6 minutes
Product Owner: everything you need to know about this job

The Product Owner is a key figure in the agile development methodology, responsible for defining the product vision, prioritising functionalities and ensuring that the development team meets the needs of users and the company's objectives. Find out more about this role, how it is evolving, and the skills and tools you need to do the job!

Originally, in traditional IT project management methods, responsibilities were often split between several roles. This could lead to delays, misunderstandings and a disconnect between development teams and stakeholders.

To overcome these limitations, software development methodologies evolved and new approaches such as Scrum emerged.

This has led to the emergence of a role as guardian of the product vision, aimed at better aligning development teams with user needs and business objectives: the Product Owner.

What does it mean? Role and responsibilities

The Product Owner’s main task is to define and manage the product backlog. This is a prioritised list of all the features, improvements, bug fixes and other tasks required to develop a product or service.

This professional is responsible for clearly defining all the elements of the backlog, ensuring that they are understandable, estimable and achievable by the development team.

To achieve this, they use various prioritisation techniques, such as business value, cost of delay, or the MoSCoW method (Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have).

The aim? To ensure that the team focuses on the most important functionalities with the highest added value for users and stakeholders.

The Product Owner must also work closely with end users, customers, product managers, project managers and development teams.

This involves actively listening to and understanding everyone’s needs, expectations and concerns, while effectively communicating the product vision and any decisions taken.

Clear and transparent communication is essential for aligning around common goals, resolving potential conflicts and making informed decisions. Often, the PO is the bridge that facilitates mutual understanding and ensures that requirements are taken into account throughout development.

However, as the main decision-maker for the product, this expert is also responsible for making crucial decisions about the functionalities to be developed, the prioritisation of tasks, the compromises to be made and the investments to be made.

This requires an in-depth analysis of user needs, market trends, technical constraints and commercial objectives.

The Product Owner’s decision-making directly influences the direction and success of the product, as well as user satisfaction.

For this reason, he or she must have the information, skills and tools needed to evaluate the options, weigh up the advantages and disadvantages, and maximise the value and impact of the product.

The evolution of the Product Owner profession

Over time, the role of Product Owner has evolved considerably to continue to adapt to the needs of organisations and development teams.

Alongside the growing popularity of agile methodologies, other frameworks and practices have emerged to enrich the role. These include Kanban, Lean and Design Thinking.

In some contexts, the PO may also be called upon to act as a facilitator, helping teams to overcome obstacles, resolve conflicts and maintain a steady pace of delivery.

With the increasing adoption of practices such as DevOps and Lean Startup, they are often required to navigate complex environments, balancing the competing demands of speed, quality and innovation.

From a need for coordination and communication, the role of the Product Owner has evolved into a strategic and operational function within agile teams.

What skills do you need?

This demanding profession requires a unique combination of technical, business and interpersonal skills. Let’s take a look at these essential skills.

In technical terms, the Product Owner must understand the principles of software development, be familiar with the relevant technologies and tools, and be able to assess the technical feasibility of the proposed functionalities.

They must also understand the market, business objectives and customers of their company, and be able to define a clear vision of the product while aligning development initiatives with corporate strategies.

However, a talent for communication, the ability to listen actively, to negotiate and to influence decisions are also essential. The same applies to team spirit and collaboration with various stakeholders.

The Product Owner must also know how to inspire and motivate teams, take the initiative, solve problems, manage conflicts and maintain a positive and productive environment.

All the tools and techniques of the Product Owner

As well as skills, the Product Owner profession relies on a vast arsenal of tools. To facilitate effective management of the product backlog and collaboration with the development teams, they use tools such as Jira, Trello, Asana and Microsoft Azure DevOps.

These solutions offer features such as task creation and prioritisation, progress tracking, real-time collaboration and reporting.

They enable POs to centralise information, share the product vision, organise and prioritise work, and ensure full traceability of features, requirements and decisions taken.

In addition, some tools incorporate advanced features such as agile planning, performance monitoring, risk management and data analysis to help make informed decisions and optimise value delivery.

In addition, Product Owners also use a variety of planning and monitoring techniques to collaborate effectively with development teams.

The most common techniques include poker planning (collective estimation of tasks), sprint reviews (evaluation of achievements and adjustment of the backlog), product demonstrations (presentation of the features developed) and team retrospectives (continuous improvement and feedback).

These methods help to maintain a steady pace of work, adjust priorities according to needs and user feedback, and encourage close collaboration and transparent communication.

The best Product Owner certifications

Several recognised certifications in the field of Product Ownership can help professionals validate their skills and expertise.

The Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) offered by Scrum.org assesses the understanding and application of the principles, practices and skills of the PO in a Scrum context.

The programme covers key concepts such as defining and managing the product backlog, collaborating with development teams, prioritising tasks, and creating value for users and the business.

For its part, the Scrum Alliance has created the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO). Here again, the aim is to validate knowledge and skills within the Scrum framework. Topics covered include agile planning, cross-functional collaboration, product backlog management and optimising results.

Within the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), POMP certification aims to equip Product Owners and Product Managers with the skills needed to succeed in a large-scale agile environment.

Defining the product vision, managing the backlog, collaborating with agile teams, delivering value and measuring performance are just some of the topics covered.

There is also the Certified Agile Product Manager/Product Owner (APM/PO) created by the Agile Alliance to validate skills in agile management, product management and leadership. It covers topics such as product strategy, roadmap creation, collaboration and the delivery of innovative solutions.

The International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) has developed the ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Product Ownership (ICP-APO) for agile product management, cross-functional collaboration, task prioritisation and value creation.

All these certifications not only allow you to validate your expertise, but also to expand your skills portfolio and keep it up to date with technological and methodological developments!

How much does a Product Owner earn?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Product Owner in France is €47,000 a year. This is a highly responsible job, so you can expect to earn a lot.

By way of comparison, in the United States, the annual salary for this profession exceeds $107,000. However, there’s nothing to stop you crossing the Atlantic to work for an American company!

Challenges and obstacles to overcome

The Product Owner is often faced with challenges. In particular, it is necessary to balance competing needs, requirements and time and resource constraints.

Similarly, navigating between stakeholder expectations, development team objectives and business requirements to make balanced and aligned decisions can be a real challenge.

Another challenge is maintaining clear, transparent and effective communication with teams and users, while managing expectations, feedback and potential conflicts.

They also need to be able to adapt quickly to market changes, new technologies, user feedback and unforeseen challenges to ensure the relevance, quality and competitiveness of the product.

To overcome these barriers, the Product Owner must adopt best practice. One of the first steps is to define a clear and coherent vision of the product, which will serve as a guide for decision-making and the definition of priorities.

Adopting prioritisation methods and maintaining open communication and continuous feedback with developers and users will help to resolve problems.

Organising regular sprint reviews, product demonstrations and team retrospectives enables progress to be assessed, opportunities for improvement to be identified and collaboration to be strengthened.

Conclusion: the Product Owner, a key role in Agile and DevOps development

As the linchpin between user needs, business objectives and development teams, the Product Owner occupies a central position in agile methodology.

His or her role is crucial in creating innovative, user-centred products that are aligned with the company’s strategic objectives. His clear, strategic vision helps to overcome the challenges of this development approach.

To acquire the skills you need for this job, you can choose DataScientest. Our DevOps engineer training course will enable you to become an expert in Agile project management.

What’s more, you’ll learn to handle all the DevOps tools and techniques, such as Python, Linux and Bash, NGINX, SQL, Git and Kubernetes.

The programme also covers automation solutions such as Terraform and Ansible, and monitoring tools such as Prometheus, Grafana and Datadog.

This course, designed in partnership with AWS, will also give you an insight into Amazon’s cloud platform, and enable you to gain AWS Solutions Architect certification.

You will also receive a Paris Panthéon Sorbonne continuing education certificate, and a DevOps System Administrator certificate;

The course can be completed as an 11-week bootcamp, an 11-month continuing education programme or an 18-month sandwich course, and our organisation is eligible for funding options. Find out more about DataScientest!

You now know everything there is to know about the Product Owner profession. For more information on the same subject, take a look at our complete dossier on DevOps and our dossier on CI/CD.

You are not available?

Leave us your e-mail, so that we can send you your new articles when they are published!
icon newsletter


Get monthly insider insights from experts directly in your mailbox