Skip to main content

Common Myths about Product Owners

  • The Product Owner is responsible for creating all Product Backlog Items
    Why is this a myth? The Product Owner is accountable for Product Backlog management, including the creation of the Product Backlog Items (PBIs). That means that the Product Owner owns the result or outcome of this work. However, they may delegate the responsibility of doing this work to others. It’s often the case that great ideas are generated by developers in the course of doing their work. It makes perfect sense for these ideas to be turned into PBIs by those developers. However, the Product Owner always remains accountable for all aspects of product backlog management.
  • The Product Owner is the Scrum Team’s project manager
    Why is this a myth? Scrum does not require Product Owners to engage in traditional project management activities such as day-to-day management of the project or managing the project’s scope, budget or deadline. They also do not oversee individual team member’s work or tasks. The Product Owner’s focus is on making sure that the Scrum Team is creating a valuable product.
  • The Product Owner and Product Manager must be two different people
    Why is this a myth? Scrum doesn’t provide any rules about how an organization is created, except to say that there are no hierarchies on a Scrum Team. In addition, the “Product Owner” isn’t necessarily a role or job title; it’s a set of accountabilities that must be fulfilled on a Scrum Team. These accountabilities may be fulfilled by someone who is a Product Manager. 
  • The Product Owner must be technical
    Why is this a myth? The Developers on the team are the ones with the specialized knowledge of how to accomplish the work. It MAY be beneficial for the Product Owner to have an understanding of the tradeoffs Developers make do their work, but it is not required. The Product Owner’s technical expertise is in understanding what will provide maximum value to the product’s customers and other stakeholders.
  • The Product Owner is a proxy or a messenger for the stakeholders.
    Why is this a myth? While the Product Owner works closely with the stakeholders, they are not simply a communication route between the Scrum Team and stakeholders. Instead, the Product Owner works to actively engage stakeholders and make informed decisions based on their feedback. Key stakeholders have direct contact with the Scrum Team at a minimum during the Sprint Review; ideally, Scrum Team members engage with stakeholders even more frequently.  

What did you think about this content?

Included In

Learning Series
A Product Owner is the member of the Scrum Team that is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. Learn more about what that means and a few of the common myths about Product Owners.