December 3, 2021


News for Agilists

The Market for Product Owners Is On Fire! How Can You Benefit From It? | by David Pereira | Serious Scrum | Oct, 2020

I am passionate about the Product Owner role. I think it’s exciting and meaningful; I’ve been doing that for almost a decade. As Product Owners, we have the chance to make the lives of people better.

When I hear people saying that the Product Owner job will soon be extinguished, it annoys me a lot. But before accepting such statements as a hard fact, I decided to evaluate what the market is searching for. My research is quite motivating. The market for the Product Owner is really hot. The demand is growing significantly.

Let me make it more concrete. I went to LinkedIn to understand what the market wants. I found the following:

  • European Union: 28.160 open positions in total, while last month, 22.240 positions were created.
  • USA: 34.831 open positions in total, where 26.127 were open last month.
Product Owner Open Positions EU (October 2020)
Product Owner Open Positions USA (October 2020)

Given such numbers, I don’t think the Product Owner role is dying. Actually, we face a lack of enough qualified professionals to match the market’s demand. Being a Product Owner is a challenging job. As a Product Owner, you have tons of responsibilities on your shoulders. But it’s gratifying to lead teams on building meaningful solutions.

Companies don’t have a shared understanding of what a Product Owner is. Therefore, you can find completely different expectations among companies. But some expectations are present almost everywhere.

I evaluated thirty positions to create a clear picture. My quick research consists of ten job descriptions from the USA, UK, and European Union. You can see the result in the following graph.

Expectations of Product Owners

Now, let me clarify the meaning of each term:

  • Technical Knowledge: software development skills. For example, Java, Mongo DB, and so on.
  • Track KPIs: ability to monitor Key Performance Indicators and define which ones will help make better decisions.
  • Decision Making: craft the Product Vision. Decides which problems worth solving. Decide what to do as well as what not to do.
  • Discovery Process: know-how on discovering the users’ real needs. Ability to empathize with the end-users to identify opportunities to build a meaningful product or service.
  • Prioritization: leading the team in a unique direction. The Product Owner is empowered to prioritize what will happen when and what will not happen.
  • Agile Knowledge: mastering of Agile Frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, LeSS, and so on.
  • User Stories Writing: experience in maintaining the Product Backlog Items within the User Story format.
  • Product Backlog Management: accountable for the Product Backlog. Responsible for maintaining the Product Backlog relevant and accurate.
  • Great Communication Skills: master communication among multiple audiences. For example, developers, executives, stakeholders, end-users, and so on.

In my opinion, some expectations are not aligned with the Product Owner’s responsibilities. For example, the Product Owner doesn’t need to be technical to succeed. Although technical knowledge sometimes helps to understand the Development Team, it may lead Product Owners to focus on solutions instead of problems. I also think many companies are ignoring the Discovery Process, which is vital to build relevant products.

Regardless of the companies’ confusions of the Product Owner role, thousands of opportunities are available for you. It’s up to you if you want to become a Product Owner or not. Opportunities are available everywhere in the world. If you want to understand more practical aspects, I wrote one article about the vital skills to thrive as a Product Owner.

The market for Product Owners is quite competitive in terms of salary. The demand is higher than the availability of qualified people. Therefore, companies fight for great professionals.

As you can expect, the salary varies significantly. Also, it depends on your experience and ability to negotiate the salary. To give you an overview, I did a quick research considering an intermediate Product Owner (from 2 to 3 years experience in this job) in some countries:

  • Germany: €60.654 year on average plus a bonus of around €5K.
  • USA: $85.835 per year on average plus a bonus of around $7K.
  • Australia: AU$108.451 per year on average plus a bonus of around AU$9,5K.

You can find more details in the following images.

Payscale — Product Owner Germany (October 2020)
Payscale — Product Owner USA (October 2020)
Payscale — Product Owner Australia (October 2020)

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