A Day in the Life: Scrum Product Owner

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

In Scrum, the Product Owner is 1 of 3 roles in the Scrum Team along with the Scrum Master and Developers. The Product Owner is responsible for Product Strategy, Vision and representing the customer. They need to be a mix of business strategist, entrepreneur, visionary, marketer, product designer, plus manage customers, stakeholders and other attributes


The Product Owner day is not typical. Every day is different as products are developed and released. However, updating the Product Backlog should feature every day, and might take up to 10-15% of your day. Scrum Events will feature prominently as well. 



Here is an example of what a Product Owner would do early in the second week of a 2-week Sprint. The Sprint Backlog is about half way through, and some of the tougher Product Backlog Items (PBIs) are being worked through, and the Product Backlog needs to be finalised for the next Sprint. 



PRODUCT OWNER EXAMPLE DAY:

8:30am - Urgent Priorities, Emails, and Diary Check

9:00am - Daily Scrum

9:15am - Continue Conversations with Developers 

10:00am - Update the Product Backlog

12:00pm - Lunch with Business Owner

1:30pm - Work on Product Strategy

3:00pm - Catch up with Scrum Master

3:30pm - Product Backlog Refinement

5:00pm - Networking




8:30am - Urgent Priorities, Emails, and Diary Check

Get up to date on emails to be informed prior to the Daily Scrum. Get back to people on decisions, blockage removal, clarification, and product questions. Check your calendar, see what meetings and calls you have scheduled. 



9:00am - Daily Scrum

Listen to updates from the Developers, hear what they are up to next, check they are on track to deliver the Sprint and meet the Sprint goal. Check the Burndown Chart to see if they are ready for the upcoming Scrum Review. Clarify any questions of the Developers.



9:15am - Continue Conversations with Developers

Continue any conversations with the Developers to clarify the Sprint Backlog items to ensure they are delivering the functionality required. If there is ambiguity, make a decision on what is best to get the Sprint delivered. 



10:00am - Update the Product Backlog for the Next Sprint

This is the most common task of the Product Owner which may or may not involve the Scrum Team. It can be done at any opportunity throughout the day. Break down Epics and large User Stories into smaller User Stories. Add new PBIs and prioritise. Review added PBIs, clarify and prioritise. Prepare PBIs in readiness for the next Sprint planning session. 



12:00pm - Lunch with Business Owner to Manage Expectations 

Meet up with the Business Owner to discuss the Sprint to manage expectations and to keep them up to date on progress. Discuss possible future releases, product strategy, and customer/user expectations. 


Keeping stakeholders up to date is important, and this may be a Business Owner, Customer or Product Management or all of the above. It may be a formal meeting or a casual catch up which will depend on the stakeholder and what needs to be discussed. 


This may not happen every day in person; is it will be via meetings, emails and phone calls as well. You need to keep communication on track, manage expectations, updates on progress, discuss future releases and work together on the Product Strategy. Talk with them about coming in to present the Business Strategy to the Scrum Team as that can help motivate the team and really get a good understanding of why they are doing what they are doing. Talk about the Product Roadmap and update as it evolves. Talk with them about what came out from the latest usability test run with customers along with their feedback. Talk with them about potential features so that you can turn these into User Stories. 



1:30pm - Work on Product Strategy - Review the Bigger Picture

After catching up with stakeholders, update the Product Strategy to align with the Business Strategy and the Customer Strategy. Look at the short and long term strategy of the Product. Design new features of the product. Do some market research and analyse industry trends that may influence the next Sprint. Work on high level Epics and User Stories that fit with the new features. Work on Personas that best describes the type of customers or users of the product. Work on presenting the strategy to stakeholders. Update the Product Roadmap if there are any changes to direction. 



3:00pm - Catch up with Scrum Master

Get a gauge of the mood of the team, plus work on any roadblocks or impediments that you can both help to clear. Also discuss any new items that have been added to the Product or Sprint Backlog such as technical issues and upgrades required. 



3:30pm - Product Backlog Refinement 

Update the Product Backlog with the Scrum Team. Refine Epics and large User Stories into smaller User Stories. Prioritise Product Backlog Items and determine which items should likely be in the next Sprint. Check the Product Backlog for any additions and add any items if required that have come out of the current Sprint. 



5:00pm - Networking

Product Owners need to manage relationships and communications with various stakeholders and one way is to do this is through afterwork networking events, dinners, catch ups, etc. A good social relationship helps with a working relationship plus you get a more rounded view of what your stakeholders need. Also catching up with other Product Owners, Scrum and Agile professionals to swap ideas on improving the Scrum community whether that is giving ideas or getting ideas, whether formal or informal such as conferences and meetups. 



Other Responsibilities

Other things that you may attend to are listed below. Every day will be slightly different, however Updating the Product Backlog and Scrum Events will always feature and the rest will depend on the day. Here is a list of other things that the Product Owner is responsible for:

  • Define Goals 

  • Define Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

  • Create and maintain the Product Roadmap

  • Form the Strategic Product Plan

  • Build partnerships

  • Identify new customers

  • Determine customer needs

  • Articulate customer needs into User Stories

  • Create Epics, Personas and User Stories

  • Be the Voice of the Customer (VOC)

  • Remove roadblocks

  • Usability testing and feedback

  • Prepare for upcoming Scrum Events

  • Accept and review work delivered

  • Make decisions! On behalf of the customer/business

  • Self learning and improvement






RedAgile are Australia's leading Agile Scrum training provider certified by the Scrum Alliance. As Australia's best Scrum training provider we offer Agile Scrum training courses and consulting services both online and in-person. Our training portfolio includes: Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) as well as our new Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) courses.


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