Oh My Job is a web series that helps you learn about specific roles from the people who carry them out every day. In this episode, product owner Sarah shares her professional insights and daily working life at housing service Studapart. The product owner’s role involves watching over the company’s website and continually improving it.
Positioned somewhere between creative and geek, the product owner (PO) manages the product team using an agile approach, so that the product website can continually improve under their watch. The PO’s job is made up of two parts.
- First, there’s the operational side, which includes the design and testing of new features and functionalities to improve the product.
- The other side is more strategic—it’s where the PO takes a step back from the project to ensure that it’s in line with the company’s overall vision.
Being a PO is primarily a managerial role, and the chief responsibility is to coordinate the team by following an agile framework, such as Scrum. The PO identifies and analyzes the improvements that should be prioritized before presenting them to the team and breaking them down in detail.
“What I love is spotting a user issue and then finding solutions that resolve it most effectively,” says Sarah
Engineering or business-school degrees provide a solid foundation for project management, which is an essential skill for a PO. They must also be familiar with an agile production methodology, such as Scrum, feature-driven development, or lean software development.
“What is the typical profile of a product owner? A business-school degree centered on IT, or an engineering degree encompassing project management,” says Sarah.
A PO needs to have a wide range of skills and be capable of bringing the vision of both an engineer and a business professional to the role in order to analyze and suggest necessary improvements to the product. They must be able to plan ahead and understand the needs of customers to develop improvements that will create value. Above all, a PO is a manager who knows how to make concessions and unite a strong team around a single project and goal.
“You must be able to challenge yourself, have a creative side, know how to make decisions, and have solid analytical skills,” says Sarah.
The PO provides a link between the product team and the rest of the company. He or she works alongside the technical and design teams on developing new features. Additionally, they collaborate with the business-development and marketing teams to devise new ways to inspire the project’s future roadmap.
The average monthly salary in the United States is $6,800 before tax.
A successful PO will have the opportunity to become head of product, and may even progress to chief product officer.