See the web accessibility guidance that’s relevant to product ownership.
Note: Digital practitioners often perform a mix of design, development and testing activities. Even if you’re mainly a product owner, be sure to check out the other roles for guidance that’s relevant to the work you actually do.
What is product ownership?
Product ownership is the tactical part of product or senior management. It’s a delivery-focussed function that enacts the vision held by senior management about what services the product aims to provide and who it’s for.
The product owner is bound by the decisions that senior management make. Their job is to make sure that the proper guidelines and workflows are followed in order to:
- prioritise the right work at the right time
- deliver a product that meets the needs of stakeholders and end users.
Product ownership is a skillset within product or senior management. Core skills and knowledge in product ownership include:
- Agile methodology
- technical product knowledge or specific domain expertise
- product roadmaps (Note: Roadmaps are not delivery plans, rather they serve as a direction of travel, outlining the chunks of work that need to be done to get there and providing dates that are indicative only)
- project backlog management and refinement
- communication with stakeholders and teams.
Communication is a large part of product management. A product owner must be able to juggle the work and talk about it:
- explaining what’s coming up next, where we’re headed and how this aligns with strategy
- getting people onside
- helping senior management understand issues so that they can support
- describing the work so that designers and developers know what to build.
In essence, product management is about well-managed and well-communicated work.
Supporting web accessibility
Where web accessibility is concerned, product owners:
- have a way of prioritising the aspects of accessibility work that are most valuable to do first (these are not necessarily the cheapest or easiest things)
- do this work not just because they’ve been told to but because they understand the value of accessibility to customers
- understand that accessibility work is not about getting things perfect right away, it’s just an ongoing part of iterative product development and a core aspect of quality in what the team delivers
- plan for accessibility early in the design and development of any content that will be published on the web
- keep a running backlog of accessibility issues and use this to improve the accessibility of the product over time
- establish work processes that address web accessibility and are sustainable in the long term
- ensure usability testing is conducted with participants with different types of disabilities
- hold retrospectives about the accessibility of the product to inform and improve the accessibility of future work
- regularly conduct accessibility reviews, ensuring that there are maintenance plans in place to test for and remediate issues
- implement and continually update accessibility statements for the websites they’re responsible for
- have a plan for future accessibility enhancements, where necessary.
Relevant Knowledge Areas
The following web accessibility Knowledge Areas are directly relevant to the product ownership role.