The app development process is complex and fraught with dangers: exceeding the agreed budget, not delivering the product on time or delivering something that does not meet the client’s requirements. To prevent these and other mishaps from happening, each development project needs to have a product owner.

[READ ALSO: The Role of Project Manager in App Development]

This article aims to clear up the importance of having a good product owner to monitor and steer an app development project in the right direction, towards a finished product delivered on time, within the budget, and all the stakeholders’ requirements boxes ticked.

Below are the reasons why the product owner has a critical role in IT development projects:

1. Create the Communication Interface between All Parties of the Project

A product owner represents the interests of all the stakeholders to the development team. Also, a product owner communicates to the stakeholders the problems encountered by the developers and their proposals of making changes to the product in order to surmount them. Whether the communication is clear and all sides understand each other depends exclusively on the product owner.

A good product owner must, thus, have strong communication and business skills, but also the capacity to understand technical terms and translate them into everyday language to the non-technical stakeholders.

2. Determine the Key Features and Scope of the Project Based on Market Knowledge

A product owner takes the stakeholders’ needs, translates them into a vision and a list of features and specifications, then communicates them to the development team in technical, actionable terms. Whether a web or mobile app is successful and fulfills the users’ needs depends on how well the product owner understands the market for which the app is developed and how clearly they put this knowledge in a product description the developers can work on.

This role is not merely a representative from the client side, but a mediator between the market demands, the stakeholders’ demands and the developers’ ideas on what features and functionalities the app should include.

3. Empowered to Prioritize and Make Changes

The product owner is the only person who prioritizes the sprints, the features to be included in the first demo version and who approves changes. These prerogatives give the product owner the greatest level of control over the project, but, ultimately, also the full liability in case something goes wrong. Also, there will always be moments when developers suggest changes, or believe an extra feature would be beneficial to the final product. The product owner has to decide whether these changes enhance or substantially change the scope of the product, and whether their implementation would impact the agreed budget and deadline for completion.

4. Demo the Work in Progress to Stakeholders and Take Note of the Feedback

Each app development project includes a moment when the client gets a glimpse of the work in progress. This demo version is always presented by the product owner. The app development team will be biased in presenting the features and functionalities and in receiving feedback.

The product owner has only one interest at heart: to present the stakeholders with a final product which meets their requirements and which will be a success on the market. This is why the product owner is the perfect person to make the product demo and take notes of feedback.