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A product owner is responsible for the development cycle and, in particular, ensuring that the product reaches its maximal value. This is a multi-faceted position, which comprises many roles simultaneously. The product owner must provide input on product design and business strategy, and therefore must also act as a market analyst. They may also liaise with customers throughout the process, and management development end to end.
The difference between a product owner and a product manager is that the latter defines product requirements from speaking with users. In contrast, the former helps transform the requirements into workable solutions.
In more detail
The product owner is in charge of product development. They bring everything together by maintaining a vision of the product and communicating with various stakeholders, such as customers and upper management, and the development team itself.
Most importantly, they create user stories and define goals for the development team, ensuring that these are met. The product owner is a role that is heavily intricated in Scrum, which is an agile methodology frequently used in development processes.
On the whole, they are responsible for managing the product backlog which tracks the work and milestones of every team. Not only does this order tasks in terms of priority, but it also clarifies project dependencies so all team members stay on track. Transparency is important so that everyone understands how their work contributes to the product as a whole.
In order to work as a product owner, it is important to have excellent project management skills. They must be capable of leading and influencing teams. Importantly, candidates must have proven success in releasing products that meet and, ideally, exceed business objectives.
Furthermore, they must have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, and be at ease with document writing. Finally, they must have good technical knowledge, relevant to the specific product they work on.
For some positions, obtaining a Scrum or SAFe Product Owner certification can be very advantageous.