The opinions about the product owner’s role in outsourcing are definitely divergent. Vendors often suggest that a client company should hire a product owner that will be totally dedicated to the project. They want this person to control the given milestones, the delivery and to verify everything presented by the outsourced team.

Due to different opinions, a lot of people do not know when is the right time to hire a product owner and when isn’t. Indeed, both situations are possible and this article is the living proof of it.

First of all, let’s elaborate on the term “product owner”. The key stakeholder for the project is the person we often call a product owner, simple as that. The responsibilities this person holds are not easy; in fact, a lot of people who do not have an understanding of the current market situation fail at it.

So, this means that this person has knowledge of the current market situation thus, is able to form a clear product vision. Second, this person forms a clear direction for the whole development team. Of course, the product owner does not set the tasks; he or she just ensures the development process goes without flaws along all the stages. Third, the product owner guarantees that the end product is the same or similar to the original idea. In short words, the product owners have outbound and inbound responsibilities.

Situations that do not require a Product Owner

There are a lot of vendors that do not want and are totally against the idea of hiring a dedicated product owner. According to these vendors, there are a lot of questions, problems, and tasks for one person to solve. They also state that this role should be performed by the team. To put it differently, the person that has the product owner role is not competent to make well- weighed decisions, those decisions should ultimately be made by the well-coordinated team.

Surprisingly, those vendors are right. Some projects do well without a product owner and the team who’s working on these projects is able to deliver great products. This brings us to the ultimate question, which projects fall into this category?

For example, a fixed price model or as others know it, a Lump Sum model is a sign that your project will do well without a product owner. These types of projects are really predictable and have a clear scope and requirements from the start.  A Time and Materials model can be included in here as well.

Another example that has a fixed set of requirements is a WordPress site development. The requirements around this development are really basic and do not have a single complex filament.

In both examples, we omitted the product owners because the projects are easy and their presence is unnecessary. The development team here is perfectly capable of handling the issues and further complications.

Situations that require a Product Owner

The less predictable and more complex projects require a product owner, simple as that. An extra coordination and development efforts should be implied on projects like Al, ML, Data Analytics and enterprise loT.

The presence of product owners here is a must because the teams working on these projects are often diverse and in large numbers. Someone must explain and ensure that everything is understood. A product that is not so different from the original idea is the goal so; they have to make everything goes in the right direction from the start.