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A Product Owner will be a versatile individual who has a strong input in all aspects of bringing the concept of a product into reality. Whether dealing with goods or services, the Product Owner will need to liaise with various interested parties, including designers, marketers, and departmental managers. This is a varied role and one that brings with it several tangible rewards.
There are several important responsibilities for a Product Owner in IT, including:
Successful Product Owners are highly motivated individuals who have something of a sixth sense when it comes to understanding the needs of the market. They will need to be highly flexible in their approach, able to think on their feet and adept at communicating their visions to others, including both end users and senior management.
In many cases, new products that hit the ground running and prove to be exceptionally popular can become almost obsolete in just a year or two, so Product Managers will always be thinking about what comes next. They combine the skills of traditional Business Analysts and Project Managers and mould them into a powerful force for constant change.
It is important for Product Owners to provide a crucial link between all stages of a product’s development, so they need to be equally adept at listening as they are at talking. The direction that a product takes on its journey, and the growth that results from it, are key to the success of the Product Owner.
Technical skills are of a little less importance for an IT Product Owner as they might be for other roles, but some knowledge of relevant applications will be a big help to a candidate. They include examples of scrum and agile project management applications and processes, for example, as well as UX/UI, programming, networks, and cloud computing. Technically sound rather than technically expert would be the best describe of the requirements in the role of project owner.
Strong academic background will help with applications, but employers in many cases are looking more for the right personality rather than the right qualifications. A university degree in any subject will sometimes be a requirement, but this isn’t always the case. Experience in similar roles will also be seen as a major benefit to the candidate.
Mapping out a career path after being a Product Owner can be interesting. There are several excellent roles which could become a possibility, including those of Senior Product Owner, Scrum Master, Lead Product Manager, Portfolio Manager, Product Director and Chief Product Officer.
Product Owners are in great demand at the moment, and the salary and benefits packages will underline that demand.
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