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What Is a Product?

July 1, 2024 - What is a Product?

“A product is a vehicle to deliver value. It has a clear boundary, known stakeholders, and well-defined users or customers. A product could be a service, a physical product, or something more abstract.”

- The Scrum Guide

This is an intentionally broad definition to keep Scrum flexible and applicable in multiple contexts. 

Every product has a:

  • User: Someone who gets value from your product.
  • Customer: Someone who pays for your product. They may or may not also be the User.
  • Producer: Someone who benefits from the use of the product. Typically via financial profits or societal benefit.

What a product it may or may not be immediately apparent. The Product Owner in Scrum is intended to own the entire product, not a more minor constituent part of it. Think of your product from a customer’s perspective. What need does your product meet for them?

When Product Owners only own a piece of a product, they become disconnected from customers and users, making it harder to deliver value and validate. There will be many dependencies and others to consult and consider when making decisions. Timelines will likely extend, and delays will follow.

But if the product is large, how can the Product Owner possibly be expected to cope with the demands placed upon them? Scrum states that there can be only one Product Owner per product. As products scale, Product Owners should make themselves less involved with the tactics of product development and more involved with strategy. They can get help from Developers, stakeholders, Product Managers and other assistants. They can delegate responsibility but remain accountable for the product’s success.


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