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The Top 5 Qualities of the Proven Product Owner - What Makes a Good PO?

Updated: May 1, 2023

The Proven Product Owner


Product owners are tasked with the ultimate responsibility of overseeing the development of the product. They’re responsible for maintaining a vision of what might be and how to get there, and they need to keep their team on track towards that goal. It’s more than just a job title, it’s a role of leadership, and a journey to become the ideal PO.


Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate enough to be a product owner, coach product owners and now enjoy sharing my learnings through the Proven Product Owner training course. During the course we find creative ways to allow participants to experience the five qualities that we will talk further about today.


So from my experience, Here are 5 qualities that make up a proven product owner and what makes them so qualified for their role:


1) A clear vision of the future

2) Creativity and confidence

3) Knowledge of business practices

4) Superior communication skills

5) The ability to assess different viewpoints.


Lets delve further into those qualities:

1) A clear vision of the future - Product owners are able to see what a business could be and how it might grow. They know what's missing from a business and can dream up new features or improvements. They're able to visualize an idea before it becomes a reality.



2) Creativity and confidence - Product owners should have the intelligence and creativity to come up with new ideas about the product. They also need enough confidence in themselves and their abilities that they can lead others.


3) Knowledge of business practices- This is one of the most important qualities for a product owner because they're responsible for overseeing development of the product. A PO needs knowledge of how businesses operate so they can make sound decisions about customer feedback, business strategy, and market trends.


4) Superior communication skills- The ability to communicate well with both team members and customers is critical for this role. A good PO can speak confidently at meetings, communicate clearly with stakeholders, read people well, and understand when others aren't making sense or don't understand their point of view


5) The ability to assess different viewpoints - As part of their job description, product owners need strong emotional intelligence to listen to multiple needs and wants and translate these into the goals of highest value the team will work towards within their limited capacity.


We will unpack these five qualities further below

A Clear Vision of the Future

Product owners need to be able to see the future of their product and how they can improve it. This means they need to know what the customer wants and needs, as well as what business goals they’re trying to achieve.

Of course, this is an ongoing process that starts with a vision and evolves with the team, but the PO needs to stay on top of these changes.

A PO has to be able to prioritize and delegate tasks according to the vision and goals of the product. They also need to be able to motivate and inspire their team members.

They have a crucial role of being both visionary and task manager, so being able to do both is key for success!

Creativity and Confidence

One of the qualities that make up an ideal product owner is creativity and confidence. Product owners should be able to think outside the box, but also have the self-assurance to know what they are doing is right.

Creative solutions are not always possible, but it makes for a great tool when trying to solve complex problems. Creativity can help you see things from a new perspective and will make your strategy more dynamic and innovative.

Confidence in your own abilities and knowledge is key in becoming an ideal PO. They need to be able to envision success and know how to get there. If you’re unable to do this, then you won’t be able to lead others on their journey with you or motivate them around the goal you’ve set out for them. A product owner needs both creativity and confidence in order to maintain a high level of success.


Knowledge of Business Practices

In order to have a successful product, it needs to be a good business. Often the most difficult part of being a product owner is understanding all of the different components that go into that. You need to have knowledge in these areas:

-Marketing

-Sales

-Customer Service

-Accounting

-Finance

It’s essential to know how your company makes money and how you can keep it going. This way you can make sure your product doesn’t lose money and vice versa. It’s not enough to simply know about your product, but also the other parts of the company, which will make you a well-rounded product owner.


Superior Communication Skills

Communication is the cornerstone of understanding with your team. The product owner will be the one to lead discussions, make decisions, and most importantly communicate what needs to be done.

Product owners need to be able to communicate effectively with their customers, partners, stakeholders, and team members. This includes the ability to articulate goals in a way that resonates with each audience.

A product owner needs to have superior communication skills for this reason. They need to have the ability to present an idea so it's understood by all involved parties. If they can't convey their vision of the future in a way that connects with all members of their team, then they are not able to do their job properly.


The Ability to Assess Different Points of View.

A great product owner is able to assess situations from different points of view. They need to be able to listen to the needs of their team while also understanding what customers want.

Product owners are tasked with assessing different points of view in order to make the best decisions for the business. They need to be able to see things from both perspectives while also considering how their decisions will impact customers.

A great product owner is someone who can balance all these factors and still get the job done.

I see product ownership as a capability that requires maturing in many organisations I work with. If I can help you or your organisation further please reach out our explore our proven product owner course.

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