Scrum Product Owner

A scrum product owner talking to a scrum team member by a window

One of the most important roles in the Scrum development process is the Scrum Product Owner. This person brings products to life. They must have a vision for production needs and convey that to the development team in a way that informs and inspires them. A Scrum Product Owner must live and breathe the product and understand it better than anyone else.

Download the complete guide

What is a Scrum Product Owner?

In the Scrum methodology, the Scrum Product Owner is usually a project’s key stakeholder—typically someone from marketing or product management, or the lead user of a system. They have a deep understanding of users, the marketplace, competitors, and trends.

The Scrum Guide states that “the Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work of the development team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum teams, and individuals.” One of their key responsibilities is managing the product backlog—the prioritized features list for the product.

The Scrum Product Owner prioritizes work during the sprint planning meeting and motivates the team with clear goals, answering any questions. The development team decides how much work they can do, taking the items from the top of the product backlog list.

Key responsibilities.

The Scrum Product Owner takes the lead in many aspects of a product’s development. They may have to climb into the trenches to help the team during a sprint. Or they may have to wear a strategist’s hat to present the product vision to stakeholders, backed by their sound market knowledge.

Other key responsibilities and roles of a certified Scrum Product Owner include:

It’s beneficial for the Scrum Product Owner to attend the daily Scrum. While daily attendance isn’t mandatory, attending helps the Scrum Product Owner evaluate progress, answer questions, and troubleshoot when necessary. The Scrum Product Owner can provide valuable business context for an issue, making the development team’s work easier.

What makes a good Scrum Product Owner?

Since the Scrum Product Owner must make the final decision on a product’s features, they must be a good business analyst, with a strong understanding of strategy, to keep alignment with the company vision statement. They need to be effective communicators, keeping touch with the development team and internal and external stakeholders.

They also need to have:

Scrum Product Owner certification.

If you are interested in getting a Scrum Product Owner certification, Scrum Alliance and offer courses and assessments. While you don’t have to be certified to work in this capacity, it’s recommended if you don’t have a lot of experience, want to upgrade your qualifications, or want a competitive edge when applying for work.

Through the Scrum Alliance, you can become a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), taking online or in-person classes taught by Certified Scrum Trainers. You can also receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC). As a CSPO, you learn to create the product vision, order the product backlog, and “make sure the best possible job is done to delight the customer.”

You can receive an assessment to certify as a Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) from, demonstrating you can apply professional knowledge to real-work situations. It provides a way “to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the role of Product Owner in detail.” also offers training courses to prepare for the certification assessments, with the cost of the assessment attempt included. There are three options for Professional Scrum Product Owner assessment: PSPO I, PSPO II, and PSPO III.

Differences between the Scrum Master and Scrum Product Owner.

While each performs an essential task in the development process, a Scrum Master is not the same as a Scrum Product Owner. The two work together closely. A Scrum Master heads the Agile team and gives support to the Scrum Product Owner by passing updates to relevant employees. The Scrum Product Owner manages the product backlog and ensures the company realizes maximum value from a product.

According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master serves the Scrum Product Owner by:

Scrum Masters must implement the Scrum approach with development and engineering teams.

Scrum Product Owners plan and prioritize work for Scrum teams by working behind the scenes with internal and external stakeholders to create a well-thought-out product road map. Their job involves interviewing customers, reviewing product feedback, analyzing market trends, and getting a product vision approved by senior management.

Scrum Product Owners can help achieve success.

While the Scrum Product Owner wears a lot of hats, bears a lot of responsibility for how a project runs, and must keep track of a lot of moving parts, their feelings of achievement are correspondingly large when a Scrum project achieves its goals.