๐ŸŽฏ What does a Product Owner do all day?

16 May 2022 ยท Updated 22 July 2023

You might think that the job of a PO is to please the internal stakeholders and be responsible for the teamโ€™s performance. I mean, presenting excellent charts to the management is nice, but thatโ€™s not what the job is about.

Consider that your team is doing 100 Story points every sprint - the goal of a PO is not to increase that to 140 delivered SPs but to maximize the product value delivered in those 100 points.

Itโ€™s not about maximizing the โ€œworkโ€ e.g. pushing developers to do overtime and deliver more, resulting in burnout and dissatisfaction. Itโ€™s not even a POโ€™s job to measure the teamโ€™s performance. A good rule of thumb is - a developer should be planned to work at 75% of his capacity - as thereโ€™s always stuff that fills in that 25%, and even if not, working 100% all the time is exhausting.

The POs job is about maximizing the โ€œvalueโ€ e.g. focusing on the stories with the highest work to value ratios that can fit into those 100 Story points. If you can make a product 7% better each sprint and keep the team engaged and happy to deliver the next 100 points, youโ€™ve succeeded in your job.

The product owner also shouldnโ€™t be focused on pleasing the internal stakeholders. The value a product creates is ultimately determined by its users, not by your marketing department who wants X feature or your Sales department that wants Y feature.

It would probably be a disaster if you, as a PO, said yes to all of their ideas โ€” youโ€™d end up with a product that implements the stakeholdersโ€™ requirements rather than effectively addressing customer needs. Just say no.

๐Ÿš€ Maximize the value, not the amount of work.

๐Ÿฅน Focus on the customers first and the internal stakeholders second.

โ›” Say no easily.

Other Newsletter Issues:

  • Jacob B.

    Focusing on delivering what users truly need rather than just doing more work is key to building successful products. Learning to say ‘no’ to demands that don’t align with this focus isn’t easy but necessary. It’s vital to understand your user’s needs deeply and ensure your team is not overworked. This approach not only results in a product that better serves its intended audience but also keeps your team motivated and productive. Remember, a happy team is more likely to create great products.

  • Redd

    A PO’s job is to bridge the gap between user needs and team capabilities

  • King

    I really don’t think product owner is simply increasing story points, it’s not sustainable for product growth. A Product Owner’s ability to say ‘no’ is their biggest asset. there’s so many stakeholders around them, and prioritizing effectively is what separates a good product manager from a great one.

  • Anonymous

    As a developer, I appreciate POs who prioritize well. Makes our work more meaningful.

  • Anonymous

    I always advise my colleagues to focus on the ‘why’ behind the feautures – the business decisions, the user feedback.

  • Product Owner Extraodinar

    PO is about strategic decision-making, focusing on delivering value over volume. Daily maximizing effectiveness but also sustaining team morale and productivity. My daily job is basically figuring out what’s the lowest hanging fruit and what’s the most impact features and mix-and-matching them.