No, you don’t.
It can be super helpful if you are a developer transitioning into a product owner role and have a great deal of experience building software products.
You’re able to connect with your development team and earn their respect quickly and easily because you speak their language and understand their challenges.
You have greater insight into the challenges of software development, and you understand the difficulty in creating new products or solving problems that have never been solved before.
If you are a developer and have a strong technical background, that capability will always serve you in good stead, but it isn’t necessary to be a product owner.
The double-edged sword comes into play when you are no longer focused on the kinds of conversations that are productive from a product ownership perspective.
If you have deep technical expertise and are leading technical conversations, you are no longer in a product ownership role, you’re in a developer role.
Product Ownership isn’t project management and as such, you aren’t there to tell people how to do their jobs.
A drawback for product owners with developer experience is that they can become too immersed in the how and forget about the why and the what of product development.
They can become too immersed in solving the challenges or trying to create the solutions at the expense of helping the team to create the most valuable product and/or solve the most compelling problems.
If you find yourself drifting back into elements of what used to be your job, you’re moving out of what is currently your job, Product Ownership, and back into development.
The Product Owner role is a full-time role.
A great product owner is like a CEO of the product.
It requires a great deal of work. It involves a great deal of conversations with everyone from customers through to product stakeholders. And it requires a firm finger on the product pulse.
You are there to create a product vision and purpose and to align all efforts to achieve the best possible product.
You don’t need development experience to do that.
You simply need to be passionate about the product experience and deeply engaged with all elements of the product environment.
A great product owner career builds momentum over time and whilst you work closely with the development team, you aren’t a member of the developer team.
So you don’t need developer knowledge or experience to become a great product owner.
Frequently Asked Product Ownership Questions
- What is the difference between a Product Owner and a Project Manager?
- How is a product owner different to a product manager?
- Is a product owner a member of the development team?
- Do you need project management experience to be a Product Owner?
- How does a Product Owner integrate into a Scrum Team?
- Do project managers traditionally make great product owners?
- Is the product owner role a great fit for people in creative industries?
- Is there different levels of seniority for product owners?
- What are career opportunities for a Product Owner?
- What do Product Owners do?
- Do you need to be a developer to be a product owner for a software company?
- Can you create a Product Ownership role in a company that doesn’t do Scrum?
- What are some great traits of a product owner?
- How will I know if a product owner role is a great fit for me?
- Do product owners attend daily scrums?
- Do product owners interact and engage with project stakeholders?
- How does a product owner integrate into a marketing team?
- Do entrepreneurs make great product owners?
Frequently Asked Product Owner Training Questions
- What is a Certified Scrum Product Owner?
- Will I be able to lead product development after doing a CSPO course?
- What will you learn on a CSPO course?
- How well recognised and respected is the CSPO course?
- What do you need to know to sign up for the CSPO course?
- How well does a CSPO course prepare you to be a product owner?
- Do I get textbooks and course materials as part of my CSPO course?
- What would be a good certification path for a Product Owner?
- Are there different CSPO certifications and how do they differ?
- How long is the CSPO course and how is it configured?
- Is the CSPO course theoretical or practical?
- Do companies invest in CSPO courses or is it primarily individuals?
- How do I progress as a Product Owner?
- Would you recommend the CSPO course for entrepreneurs?