If you read books related to Kanban (Kanban by David Anderson or Personal Kanban by Jim Benson and Tonianne De Mary Barry) there is no mention about the role of Product Owner. However, what if supposed to do if you have a team to work as helpdesk?
You need someone to prioritize the incidents (or bugs) per product and basing on the importance of each product and how many clients are affected per each bug.
In addition, this special guy has to collect every new requirement that other departments of the company need.
What about working with Legacy Code?
Well, here you have to deal with complaints from clients and all of them should be attended as soon as possible but you can’t do it except you hire an army of developers ( I am kidding). So you have to record each bug, distributed on swim lanes and decide according to your criteria which goes on the top and which can wait a longer (no forever so you have to refine your backlog time to time ).
Yes, I know that you are thinking why this guy is mentioning the Grooming (or refinement) Backlog in Kanban. Because Kanban has a backlog which is very similar to the Product Backlog in Scrum.
There are many similarities between the role of Product Owner from Scrum and someone who has to take care of your Kanban backlog.
Furthermore, if you have many bugs that show the same behavior someone has to analyze what is the best way to figure it out all of them once.
Responsibilities (extracted from Roman Pichler)
- The Product Owner has to understand the users and customers with theirs needs
- Collaborate with the development team
- Manage the stakeholders
As far as I know all of these duties look very similar from the role of someone (the Product Owner in Scrum) you read in other books so in my opinion even in Kanban you have to find someone to work as Product Owner.
I would like to know what is your experience working with real (or fake) Product Owner in Kanban.