Are there different levels of seniority for product owners?

The Scrum Guide makes provision for the role of a product owner.

It doesn’t specify seniority, nor does it make provision for a hierarchy.

A product owner is a product owner.

That said, there will always be a significant difference between a newly minted product owner and a deeply experienced product owner that manages a global product.

Hierarchy

In the corporate world, we often use titles to demonstrate career progression and to reward or remunerate people based on their level of contribution, depth of their experience, and their expertise.

Often, this is where the flat structure of Scrum draws a lot of fire.

How can a junior product owner with minimal experience in complex product environments be the equivalent of a product owner with a decade of experience in product development?

This is where dogma comes into play.

The scrum purists will insist there are no differences, in theory, and that a product owner is a product owner regardless of experience or expertise.

That simply isn’t true though.

A product owner is a role and not a title.

Often, a product owner will be a senior product manager or director.

In some cases, the product owner is the CEO of the start-up or venture.

In my experience, it is always useful to focus on the development of expertise within the Product Owner role rather than the title.

A great product owner collaborates with teams to develop the most valuable products and services or to solve the most compelling problems.

Doing that opens a multitude of opportunities for both the team as well as the organisation.

Product Owner Development

In every successful scrum environment, coaching and mentoring go a very long way toward building a culture of high-performance.

In terms of seniority and expertise, the same is true of product owners.

As in any field, you would expect the more experienced product owners to coach and mentor new product owners on all the nuances and complexity of the role.

In Scrum training, there is a Certified Scrum Product Owner course, an Advanced Scrum Product Owner course as well as a Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner course.

All of which are designed to help aid progression and promote greater capability at each stage of a product owner’s career.

In many of our client engagements, Agile coaches play a crucial role in helping the Product Owner, , and development team to grow into high-performing, Agile teams that unleashes creativity and passion.

So, there is a difference between levels of capability amongst product owners and their salaries, bonuses, and incentive programs are often based on contribution as well as expertise.

If you are interested in becoming a product owner, visit our Certified Scrum Product Owner and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner course pages.

Frequently Asked Product Ownership Questions

Frequently Asked Product Owner Training Questions

author avatar
John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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