The Agile Principles For Product Owners

Agile software development – or Agile – is a collection of software development methodologies that emphasizes adaptive planning, continuous improvement, evolutionary progress and encourages quick, flexible response to change.
In theory, if you are a product owner, your responsibilities within the agile framework are simple: “maximize the value of the product and the work of the Development Team”. In reality, product owners do more than just that. They bridge the gap between what a customer wants, stakeholder’s interests and the development team’s work on the project. A product owner needs to understand a customer’s needs in the context of the market it is in, as well as the needs of the development team and stakeholders. Applying the 12 principles of Agile to project management brings a team back to basics and helps product owners fulfill their role.

Agile History

During a meeting of 17 software developers in Utah, the Agile Manifesto was born out of a need to change the way software development took place. The manifesto developed is comprised of 12 principles and each of these principles makes up the foundation of the agile movement we use today. Its emphasis on lean manufacturing, communication, collaboration, flexibility, and customer focus has lead other industries to utilize its principles to manage projects and increase production.


1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Customers are happier when they don’t have to wait long periods of time for a working product. They have problems that need solutions, that is why they are having you do something for them. By understanding what the customer’s needs are, a Product Owner can keep customers happy by shortening the time between gathering requirements and feedback. As a Product Owner, this allows for more opportunities to steer the product in a direction that is agreeable to the customer.

2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

Needs often change during the course product development. When inevitable changes come about, implement them as soon as possible by shortening the time between when a change is conceived and when it is implemented. As a product owner, ensuring that changes are implemented right away – and not when the next system redesign comes about or next system is built – is important to keep the needs of all those involved in the forefront.

3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Previous project development methods were usually front-loaded and often required 100% of the requirements and documentation to be completed before starting a project. This was time-consuming and didn’t allow for a lot of change.

On the other hand, Agile focuses on shortening the distance between planning and delivery. All the requirements aren’t required to begin work. Instead, it is a working process that focuses on creating the product, not just planning for it.  

4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Collaboration between business stakeholders and the development team should be done throughout the whole project. Ensuring this collaboration and communication takes place is crucial. Communication tools can be used to ensure this collaboration takes place and helps the two sides understand each other better. This leads to more productive, effective work.

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Our Book Recommendations

We found these books great for finding out more information on Agile Scrum:

Master of Agile – Scrum Product Owner With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

Introductory Offer: Free Course

What is this course?

This ‘Master of Agile – Scrum Product Owner With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)’ provides an in-depth understanding of the Scrum Product Owner roles and responsibilities

You will explore the Agile Scrum project life-cycle, including how an Agile User Story is created, to how we know when it is ‘done’

This course is aimed at those with or without prior knowledge and experience of the Agile values and principles

During this course you will learn the tools needed to succeed as a Scrum Product Owner

What will you learn?

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Scrum Product Owner roles and responsibilities, and you will be able to

  • Fully understand the role of the Scrum Product Owner
  • Understand the roles involved in an Agile project
  • Create an effective Product Backlog
  • Effectively participate in Scrum Meetings such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review and Retrospective
  • Identify the roles involves in the Scrum Team

What topics are covered within this course?

You will cover the following topics during this course:

  1. An Introduction to Agile Project Management (Product Owner)
  2. The 12 Agile Principles (Product Owner)
  3. The Declaration of Interdependence (Product Owner)
  4. Introduction to Scrum (Product Owner)
  5. Scrum Project Roles (Product Owner)
  6. The Agile Project Life-cycle (Product Owner)
  7. Acceptance Criteria and the Prioritised Product Backlog (Product Owner)
  8. Epics and Personas (Product Owner)
  9. Sprint Planning (Product Owner)
  10. User Stories (Product Owner)
  11. The Daily Scrum (Product Owner)
  12. The Product Backlog (Product Owner)
  13. Scrum Charts (Product Owner)
  14. Review and Retrospective (Product Owner)
  15. Validating a Sprint (Product Owner)
  16. Releasing the Product (Product Owner)
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