The Product Owner (PO) is one of the essential roles in the Scrum framework. As such, many companies that are adopting both Agile methodology and Scrum framework are on a lookout for reliable POs. As a result of this huge demand and the responsibilities that a PO takes on in a company, the average salary for POs is around $115,000 annually.
In other words, companies aren't just looking for POs but are also willing to pay well for this role in their organization. With that in mind, if you have what it takes to be a Product Owner, here's how and where to find suitable employment.
The role of the Product Owner
In essence, the Product Owner is a role responsible for the business aspect of developing a product as a Scrum Team. They have a comprehensive knowledge and familiarity of users, their needs, expectations and preferences.
It's safe to say that the role of PO is also the role of a key stakeholder within the Scrum team. Who gets to be the Product Owner depends on the structure of the organization but pretty much anyone from sales, marketing, product management etc. can assume this role when and if needed. In other words, a PO doesn't have to have a lot of technical know-how to do their job accordingly and efficiently.
Furthermore, a PO doesn't own the product per se. Instead, their job is to envision the product and portray that vision to the rest of the team so that they can best go about creating it. Moreover, a PO is not a team leader or the one who order others around. Instead, they are the key motivators that encourage and help the teams achieve goals.
The traits and responsibilities of a Product Owner
Not everyone is suited for this role, especially since this role is more on the soft-skill side. Here are a few personality traits and responsibilities of a PO.
Leadership - Product Owners are leaders but not in commanding others but in being able to portray a vision to the rest of the team and convey backlog items.
Not a control freak - Product Owners must be able to relinquish control and allow the teams to do what they believe is necessary. POs take the lead on prioritizing the Scrum product Backlog, but they also listen to input from other members of the team.
Quick thinkers - POs must be quick to make decisions and trust their intuitions when prioritizing backlog items with goals and missions in mind.
Flexible - POs need to understand be able to adapt to frequent changes in Scrum projects, in order to optimize the development team's performance.
Communicators - POs will oftentimes communicate and act as liaisons between managers, developers, stakeholders and others. They must be able to provide clear feedback to all.
Certification for POs
When looking for Product Owner jobs, one should know that a certification is usually not a strict requirement. However, if you are a certified PO, your chances of finding good employment vastly increase, regardless of what others might tell you.
Therefore, if you're not certified yet, make sure to check out how you can get certified. As an example, you can opt for a Certified Scrum Product Owner provided by the Scrum Alliance or opt for a Professional Scrum Product Owner provided by the Scrum.org. There are other organizations and certifications, but these two are the most widely recognized.
Where to look for a job?
Now for the fun part, where to look for Product Owner jobs?
Online platforms such as Indeed, Glassdoor and Dice are among the best online resources for finding employment within the tech industry. You can get a lot of information just by browsing employment opportunities on these websites.
Another great source for Product Owner jobs is LinkedIn. Besides being able to search for Product Owner jobs there, LinkedIn also provides specific Agile and Scrum-related groups where you can hear about PO employment opportunities.
Last but not least, you can check out your local Agile organizations and meet-ups for Agile and Scrum practitioners. Whether in person or through online forums, you'll eventually find a group that might just help you out with finding a good job.
Some future advice
Don't get frustrated if you cannot find a job straight away. Sometimes it might take a while to find a Product Owner job, especially if you have no prior experience in the role.
While you're on the lookout for a job, try making more contacts and establishing new relationships that might be of assistance to you in the future.
Expand your network and gain more knowledge and experience in the field. The more you work on yourself and the more effort you make to find employment the easier it will be to actually score a dream job. You should also get some experience with agile scrum tools as you will probably use one in the future.
Of course, you can also use this time to hone your Product Owner skills and learn more about what this role entails.
The Product Owner role is a demanding one, there are no two ways about it. You'll have a lot of responsibilities on your plate but the job itself is both engaging and fulfilling as it never gets dull, to say the least.
Finding a Product Owner job, however, may be more difficult than you initially thought but that doesn't mean it's out of your reach.