How much of a difference can a great Product Owner make to an organisation?

In the realm of product ownership, individuals are typically assigned the title of ‘Product Owner’ and, more often than not, they get landed with a heap of requirements or even a comprehensive specification document. What do they do? They diligently key in all this data into a tool like Jira. We call these Product Owners “scribes”. They are masters at quickly translating requirements into neat digital formats.

Technically speaking, yes, these individuals are Product Owners. But the question that arises is: Are they truly effective in their roles? They function more like clerks, diligently executing their tasks. However, the core idea behind assigning a Product Owner in a Scrum team isn’t about keeping a project on time, on scope, or on budget; it’s fundamentally about the value we aim to deliver.

Domain expertise: A step up

Beyond the “scribe” level, we find Product Owners who are deeply familiar with the domain they work in. For instance, I once worked with a Product Owner at a bank who had more than 20 years of experience in dealing with loans. He knew every detail and could answer any question, advising when to be cautious and when to push the boundaries.

The entrepreneurial mindset

Then there’s another tier that goes beyond even this level of domain expertise, what I like to call the entrepreneurial mindset.

This tier represents those visionaries, people with strong ideas, people who know “this is where we need to go” and who have the drive to really pursue it.

From scribe to visionary

If we were to chart this evolution on an X-axis, it would run from ‘scribe’ to ‘business representative’ to ‘entrepreneur’ to ‘visionary’.

However, it’s also crucial to note that as you move further to the right on this X-axis, from scribe to visionary, you usually also move upwards in the organisation. Your standing improves, your impact grows, and more people listen to you. You gain more freedom to chase the objectives you are passionate about.

About Effective Agile

Ralph Jocham is a Change Agent in Scrum // Agile // Coaching // Evidence Based Management and also a Professional Scrum Trainer based in Europe.

As one of the first Professional Scrum Trainers in the world, Ralph has worked directly with cocreator of #scrum, Ken Schwaber, and has played an integral part in the course development of the #PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner) as well as the delivery of all certified courses.

If you’re looking to invest in training that transforms and empowers teams to successfully adopt #scrum or #agile, and create high-performance #productdevelopment environments leveraging the agile values and principles, visit

If you would like to work with Ralph and company as an #agilecoach, #agileconsultant, or powerful change agent to get your team back on track and on the road to high-performance #agile #productdevelopment, visit

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