The Role of Product Owner in Sprint Planning

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
May 18, 2023
Updated on
May 18, 2023
Table of Content

As a product owner, it’s your job to ensure that development teams stay focused on delivering the most value and meeting customer needs. To do this, you have to be involved in Sprint Planning—a process where the team sets goals for what they will accomplish in the upcoming Sprint. 

Sprint Planning is an essential part of any Scrum project, and having a clear understanding of how it works is critical for successful product ownership. In this article, we’ll take a look at the role of Product Owner in Sprint Planning and discuss how you can make sure your team stays on track towards achieving their goals.

What Are the Product Owner’s Responsibilities?

The Product Owner has many responsibilities in Sprint Planning. The most important is to ensure that the team understands what needs to be built and how it fits into the overall product roadmap

The Product Owner also creates a draft of acceptance criteria for user stories and provides relevant historical data and projections on story development timelines. They understand the customer use cases, prioritize Backlog items, review progress with stakeholders, define acceptance tests, and monitor sprint velocity

During the actual planning session, they are responsible for presenting user stories, answering questions from developers about features or functionality, discussing any technical challenges that may arise during implementation or testing, deciding which stories can fit within an iteration window based on capacity considerations such as resource availability or deadlines imposed by external customers or upstream dependencies.

What Is Sprint Planning?

Sprint Planning is a collaborative effort between the product owner, development team, and Scrum Master to define what work will be done in the next Sprint. It's an opportunity for everyone to learn about each other's roles, discuss ideas, and plan out how they'll move forward with the current goals.

This procedure ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page and that any issues or concerns are addressed before it is too late. The Product Owner will provide a high-level overview of what should be accomplished in this Sprint and will help prioritize tasks based on goals and resources during Sprint Planning. 

The scrum team will then further subdivide each task into smaller segments that must be completed during this Sprint, so that everyone is aware of what needs to be done and by when. 

The Scrum Master will oversee the Sprint Planning process and facilitate conversations as needed. By collaborating in this manner, everyone involved can be confident that their objectives will be met during this Sprint.

What Are the Key Responsibilities for the Product Owner in Sprint Planning?

Product Backlog Management

The Product Owner’s responsibility to manage and prioritize the Product Backlog is one of their most important tasks in Sprint Planning. This involves making sure that the user stories are captured and organized according to their strategic goals and priorities. 

It also requires constantly evaluating, reprioritizing, updating, and removing items from the list as they become obsolete or no longer align with the organization’s overall product vision

One way Product Owners can ensure efficient management of their Product Backlog is by getting feedback on user stories from stakeholders before submitting them for review. Getting input on user stories early on helps ensure that what goes into the Backlog is aligned with the team’s strategic goals and objectives. 

Product Owners also ensure that the user stories are granular and specific so that they can be easily understood by the development team. Product Owners also have a system in place to help them prioritize the items on the Backlog. 

This could involve creating categories or tiers within the list of tasks, or assigning weights to each item based on their importance. Additionally, Product Owners should review their Backlog regularly, as priorities may change over time due to changes in customer needs and organizational goals. 

Customer Vision Communication

In order for a sprint planning process to be successful, the Product Owner needs to communicate the customer vision clearly and effectively. This will involve not only having a clear perspective on customer goals and objectives but also being able to convey this information in such a way that everyone involved understands it. 

It is important for the Product Owner to understand the product objectives from both short-term and long-term perspectives, as well as what success looks like. Additionally, they need to identify any potential risks or issues that could arise throughout the Sprint Planning process. 

The task of communicating customer vision involves more than just stating what needs to get accomplished—it requires an ability to provide meaningful context on why certain tasks should be prioritized above others and how they contribute to the overall Sprint objectives.

In order for effective customer vision communication to take place, the Product Owner needs to have a deep understanding of the customer and their business model. 

Progress Evaluation

The evaluation of progress by a Product Owner in Sprint Planning is essential to ensure the successful completion of each iteration. The Product Owner should observe how each feature of the product is being incorporated into the final version and suggest any changes or improvements that can be made based on customer feedback. 

During this phase, it’s important for the Product Owner to stay informed about any potential problems that might arise during development and work with the development team to find suitable solutions. 

In order to make sure that every detail is accounted for, the Product Owner should review all documents related to the project before giving approval for it to move forward. In order to effectively evaluate progress throughout the Sprint Planning phase, a Product Owner must have strong communication skills as well as an understanding of the product development process. 

Active Involvement in the Product Development Process

The development process is a crucial part of Sprint Planning and the Product Owner plays an essential role in its success. As the liaison between the customer and the development team, it’s important for them to remain actively involved throughout each stage of development. 

The Product Owner must take the initiative to attend all cadence and review calls or meetings, while continuously monitoring objectives and communicating changes to the development team. 

During Sprint Review meetings, which are held at the end of every Sprint, they need to identify areas where improvement is necessary. This could include exploring ways to optimize user stories or introducing new features that can help enhance a product’s overall performance.

Serving as the Primary Liaison

The Product Owner must also serve as a primary liaison between stakeholders and teams. As such, it’s their responsibility to ensure that all major decisions and strategies are buy-in from stakeholders and that the developers are given clear instructions and deliverables. 

Product Owners need to be expert communicators with a strong leadership presence in order to effectively manage stakeholder expectations. An effective Product Owner will understand the business objectives behind each project, as well as break down features into potential solutions for development teams. 

They must also clearly communicate these ideas to both sides of the equation for maximum efficiency. This ensures that any ambiguity or miscommunication is removed from the process so there are no impediments slowing down progress.

Best Practices for a Product Owner in Sprint Planning

Come Prepared

As the Product Owner, it is your responsibility to come prepared to Sprint Planning. Make sure you have a clear vision of what is needed and how the team will work together to achieve deliverables. Bring relevant information, resources, and ideas that can help guide your team in making decisions and plans for the upcoming Sprints. 

It’s also important to be ready to answer questions about the product and provide any necessary feedback. This could include offering suggestions on tasks, priorities, or timelines.

Focus on the Sprint Goal

During the Sprint Planning process, it is important for the Product Owner to focus on the overall Sprint Goal. This will help ensure that all members of the team are working towards a common purpose and that progress can be monitored from start to finish. 

It is also helpful for the team to have a clear understanding of what they are aiming to accomplish during each Sprint and how their individual tasks fit into this bigger picture. The Product Owner should provide clarity around the objectives of each Sprint and communicate these goals effectively throughout the project timeline. 

Being Present

It is essential for the Product Owner to attend every Sprint Planning and Sprint Retrospective session. Their presence is absolutely necessary for setting up achievable goals, ensuring everyone on the team understands what needs to be done and that all stakeholders are on board with the objectives of the project. 

Moreover, it enables them to make decisions in real time when there are questions or issues related to a particular task. As a Product Owner, you must also be prepared with any clarification or adjustment requests throughout the entire process so that they can be addressed promptly. 

Finally, attending each Sprint Planning meeting allows you to get feedback from your team and create an even more productive environment where communication flows freely and expectations are clearly communicated.


The role of the Product Owner in Sprint Planning is an essential part of Agile metrics. The Product Owner must be involved in all aspects of the project to ensure that each Sprint Goal is achieved and that the customer’s requirements are met. 

At GoRetro, we understand how important it is for your business to have an active and engaged Product Owner who can help you make informed decisions about each aspect of your project. 

Our team has years of experience managing successful projects and can provide expert advice on sprint planning techniques and processes to ensure that your project runs smoothly. Contact us today if you need assistance with Sprint Planning or any other related questions!

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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