RASCI – What is a product owner?

Over the years i have done several RASCIs for organisations and now i have merged these for fun and extracted what the role of the PO is for my ten last companies i worked for. Perhaps inspiration for someone? My advice for RASCIs is to keep them short as a tool for initial discussions about roles and responsibilities, not only for POs. Over time this RASCI becomes a three bullet list on overall responsibilities just as guidance for new hires. To be comfortable in a role is a core need for a human being but also knowing what expectations it is on me so i can fill potential gaps with training etc. To be comfortable in a role is the sum of your competence, your awareness of your gaps and the plan for eliminating these. And here plays the RASCI a role to create that awareness.

Comfortable in my role = Competence + Gaps + Training

/Ove holmberg

One thing is common with all companies and it is the idea about that product ownership is a task in a RASCI and not a profession. I have met too many exhausted POs doing the PO thing when doing their ”real work” first. Please stop.

But here the gross list comes for your inspiration…

Adherence to established processes
Adjust project priorities according to evolving business and project conditions.​
Adjust the scope, priority and timing of deliverables in collaboration with the agile team, product line management and other stakeholders.​
Assuring that the checklist for checkpoint is used and filed for traceability each time a new MVP is shipped to production
Assuring the checkpoint decisions and the content for the check points are fulfilled.
Assuring there is a healthy balance between new functionality, maintenance and life cycle.
Available to support the Scrum Master and Development Team when clarifications are required or obstacles occur.​
Collaborate and communicate with stakeholders and users in order to gather input and prioritize the product backlog
Collaborate with different development teams and source systems to make data available to our customers in the best way, always using best practices
Collect and respond to customer and stakeholder feedback, appropriately adjusting future scope, timing and priority of deliverables.​
Communicating the product vision and clearly expressing Product Backlog items
Coordinate dependencies with other Teams within the value stream
Daily decision maker for the squad, empowered to accept/reject deliverables.​
Decide what to add and remove from the backlog
Decide when there is enough value to release to production together with stakeholders
Decides when there is enough value to release to production in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and specialists.
Dedicated business resource assigned to product squad(s) that evolved from the business sponsor role.​
Divide the overall project goals into prioritized deliverables for sequential and focused progress.​
Empowered to make decisions on the firm’s behalf, in collaboration with the product manager.​
End to end ownership for the entire value chain of a product
Ensure IT services are aligned with the IT strategy, Company Target
Ensure new code conforms to established coding standards, design specification and performance goals.​
Ensure problem, incident and crisis management
Ensure regulatory compliance, maintenance, life cycle and governance of services/applications. Ensure that the backlog items value is clearly expressed and understood by the team
Ensure that agreed investments opportunities/MVPs from the value stream roadmap are delivered
Ensure that backlog priority and content is transparent, and understood by the stakeholders
Ensure that the product has a long-term viable architecture by actively working with the architectural debt as an integrated part of the product roadmap/backlog
Ensures that the Discovery work takes place, refer to chapter 7.1 Discovery
Escalate business decisions as required.​
Escalate unmitigated risks and backlog issues to the Product Manager
Expectation management towards stakeholders, this includes to establish, maintaining and communicating forecasts of what can be done at a certain date or when a specific part of the backlog will be done, based on the Team’s velocity.
Focus on the business user community and act as a link between IT and business
Focus on what to build and to maximizing the value of the investment opportunity and the work of the cross functional team
Formulates clear user stories and acceptance criteria.​
Include technical debt reduction in all priority considerations.​
Is the customer representative.​
Lead, inspire and develop a cross-functional team with data engineers to excel in their deliveries
Maintain an in-depth understanding of market / industry landscape, emerging technologies in the data & analytics field, and customer needs through gathering & analyzing qualitative and quantitative insights to adjust strategy and priorities dynamically
Maintain the integrity and guide the evolution of themes, epics and user stories.​
Makes sure that the Team is crossfunctional with the neccecary skills
Manage prioritization of the backlog (features, technical).​
Manage product backlog priorities, define MVPs and strategically de-scope to achieve rapid feedback cycles
Manage stakeholder expectations on deliveries (when, what backlog items etc.)
Manage, develop and groom user stories.​
Manages stakeholders outside of the Development Team (e.g. customers, steering committees, product owners).​
Maximizing the value of the investment opportunity and the work of the cross functional team 
Monitor and manage financial impact of decisions and priorities of the product team
Operational risk responsibility
Own IT assets assigned to the PO
Owns the vision, strategy and roadmap for the product
Participates in Program Council (when such exists).
Prioritize and manage backlog
Prioritize user stories for sequential and focused team progress, clarifying the definition of “done” for each user story.​
Provide a single voice of business vision for the product.​
Represent the interests of all relevant stakeholders.​
Request deliverables from other Team’s by talking to respective POs
Request specific competences and resources, not existing in the cross functional teams, when needed
Requesting tasks to be added to other teams backlog, and agree on priorities with other team’s PO
Resolve ambiguous business priority conflicts.​
Responsible for bringing a whole product to market.​
Responsible for checkpoint decisions and the content for the check points are fulfilled 
Responsible for securing budgets for development, maintenance and operations.​
Responsible for signing off the acceptance criteria and when a user story is finished.​
Responsible for the maintenance, refinement and prioritisation of the product backlog.​
Responsible for, and follow up on, KPIs.
Secure delivery of appropriate, secure and reliable IT services throughout the life-cycle in accordance to the internal and external regulations and standards
Set ambitious and clear product mission and OKRs and translate these into a prioritized roadmap and team backlog that drive agreed KPIs  
Sets a vision of the product we wish to build and conveys that vision to the scrum team.​
Solely responsible for managing the product backlog for the agile team.​
Summarize the customer needs and goals in clear and concise themes, epics and user stories.​
Take end-to-end ownership of the product (full lifecycle from ideation to optimization) with ultimate accountability for business and customer value delivered 
Validate that working software is done according to the adopted definition of “done.”​

Ove Holmberg

Doubter, gaffer, author