An agile product owner is a critical role on the agile team. In simple terms the agile product owner has overall responsibility of what the agile product team develops. The product owner is the key stakeholder for the agile team. They set the vision and provide requirements for the product under development. The role of a product owner requires close interaction with the agile team and requires constant direction. The product owners who are more engaged and provide better requirements will usually result in a better product which will closer meet business stakeholder needs. Here are some key characteristics of an effective product owner:
Business Acumen: The product owner needs to have a solid understanding of the overall business and needs to know intimate details about the product that is being developed plus know more about key interfacing products and systems. Often times the product owners have spent a significant amount of time in the business and know more about what is needed from a business perspective.
Organized: The agile product owner needs to be well organized and is able to translate that into the product. The more the agile product owner can be, that organization will make the team more efficient.
Patient: The agile product owner needs to be patient with the team and give them space so they can develop the product. The product owner will provide direction to the team when needed. If the agile team cannot develop a complete product in one sprint or several sprints, it is important for the product owner to allow the product to evolve.
Clear Requirements: The agile product owner needs to clearly know what they want and be able to translate that into information so the agile team can clearly process that information into a high quality product. The product owner who can provide clear requirements will help a more efficient product.
Flexible: The agile product owner needs to be flexible. Business needs change, teams change and the agile product owner who can be flexible will help to grow and evolve the product which will closest meet business needs.
I hope this information has been helpful. In addition to the role of an agile coach here are some additional articles which might help you gain a greater appreciation for agile.
Role of Agile Development Manager
Role of an Agile Business Analyst