Technical vs non-technical product owner
When it comes to software, I am yet to see a job ad that doesn’t look for a technical product owner. Why is that? What is it that technical people have, that non-technical don’t?
I think the real question is, how do you build a great software product? Here is a short list for the PO role:
Gather and lead a team
Research the market, see what are the competitors doing and where do you fit
Conduct interviews with your clients to understand their real needs and pains
Create a strategy and a roadmap to execute on it
Prioritise issues, be able to say “no” to many different people
Go and test the product with clients, then go back and improve
Motivate the team and keep the focus
Get support from the management
Be able to articulate and present to stakeholders
A product owner can be technically skilled and I am pro learning about technology, but most of the time it is far more important that she understands the market, can build and follow a plan and is a good communicator.
What kind of technology is used is secondary to the question why - why are we building this, why will the people use it, why are we better than the product next door? You can always ask your team about the tech, about the pros and cons, and decide based on that. But there is no one to ask about the why.
Or is there ;)