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.

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