Out of all the people/product management credentials, the product owner certification is probably the most rewarding for anyone passionate about their company's product.
Product ownership itself is a progressive role for great product managers or new Scrum masters.
The recent global shift towards agile methodology has made the professional scrum product owner a very popular position. People in the product owner role can expect to see tremendous growth within their respective scrum frameworks.
However, one question still remains: How do you become a successful product owner? More importantly, what certifications will help get you closer to that product management goal?
If you're interested in attaining product owner credentials, keep reading. In this article, I've listed the top 6 product owner certification programs that you can attend in 2021 and beyond.
Let's get into it.
Table of Contents
What is a Product Owner Certification?
Product owner certification is a set of credentials that deem a product strategist to be a certified ScrumMaster or head of the scrum development team.
Similar to a project manager certification, these credentials enable you to represent the customer and implement their demands pertaining to a product.
Some of the core competencies you gain from this certification include:
- Proven ability to represent the customer/end-user to scrum team members
- In-depth knowledge of the product and its capabilities
- A development mindset that's driven by user experience
- High-level understanding of agile principles, DevOps, and their company's agile manifesto
- Ability to translate user stories into viable solutions within the product backlog
- A knack for accurate value-based prioritization (specific to software development)
Additionally, all certified product owners have some functional ability as a business analyst and project management head.
Technically, product owners are a step above product consultants, in that they take on a more active role in product development, instead of simply concentrating on product growth.
The Top 7 Product Owner Certification Courses
Product ownership is a diverse and complex field and it takes more than just a certification exam to meet all the product management education requirements. In order to meet those, you'll need to attend a product management bootcamp or take a product management certification course.
That being said, there are some certification courses that can deliver all the required knowledge and professional expertise needed for you to start your product ownership career.
Here are 7 of the best product owner certification courses you can get for 2021 and beyond.
1) Certified Product Owner by Product Manager HQ
Duration: 20 hours (live online training)
We rated the Certified Product Owner as the top product owner course. You'll learn the key fundamentals of being a Product Owner, how to succeed at product owner interviews, and how to stand out as a more suitable candidate to land the job.
In this course, there are 90+ highly-interactive lectures, 10+ hours of content, 5+ downloadable Product Owner templates, and exclusive interviews (more added over time) with product owners in the industry.
- Fundamentals of agile product management
- How to create your business model
- How to validate your ideas, scrum foundations
- Team dynamics, stakeholder management
- How to answer product owner interview questions
- How to stand out in the recruiting process to land a product owner job.
Who It's For
It was created for aspiring product managers or people who want to learn agile product management skills.
In case you have no prior product experience, Product Manager HQ offers a couple of introductory courses as well.
Learn more about the PMHQ Certified Product Owner course.
2) Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
Duration: 14 hours (live online training), 16 hours (in-person training)
The Certified Scrum Product Owner certification is a foundational scrum product owner training course for primary stakeholders in the scrum team.
CSPO certification teaches the scrum master hopeful how to own an idea, execute it as needed during a developmental cycle/sprint, and bring it to the relevant audience.
A CSPO delivers a fundamental understanding of the central product ownership principles.
- Understanding the modern product owner role
- Describing product purpose and development strategy
- Understanding end-users and/or customers
- Experimenting with product assumptions
- Developing and implementing the product backlog
Overall, it's an ideal scrum certification for anyone looking to become familiar with Scrum foundations and the community.
Who It's For
CSPO certification is for product managers or stakeholders with basic knowledge of the Agile Scrum framework.
In case you have no prior scrum experience, the course provides several resources for you to go through before taking the exam.
To learn more, visit the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification by Scrum Alliance.
3) PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
Price: $435 (for members), $495 (for non-members)
Duration: 3 hours
The Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certification by the Product Management Institute is an all-encompassing set of credentials for future agile leaders.
It teaches how to be a high-functioning member of agile teams, while also delivering training that will allow you to step up to the agile coach role.
PMI-ACP provides practical agile knowledge in several areas, including:
- Popular methodologies such as Kanban and Lean
- Agile project and product management
- Applied agile techniques within a modern dev environment
- Test-driven development (TDD) and extreme programming (XP)
- Rapid response to changing market and customer dynamics
- Data analytics
Overall, it's an ideal certification to improve their product versatility and ability to collaborate within cross-functional teams.
Who It's For
PMI-ACP is for anyone who currently has a PMP certification, 30 professional development units (PDUs), or over 8 months of firsthand agile project experience.
Furthermore, if your company is looking to reinvent its development MO and implement a DevOps or Lean framework, you could benefit a lot from the credentials.
To learn more, visit the Agile Certified Practitioner certification by PMI.
4) Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I)
Price: $200 per attempt
Duration: 1-hour exam and a 2-day course
Professional Scrum Product Owner is one of the three product owner certifications provided by Scrum.org.
The credentials come with a dedicated two-day scrum product owner course that teaches value creation, nurturing, and delivery within a scrum framework.
PSPO I offers a professional focus on several vital product areas, including:
- Agile project and product development
- Generating value from existing product resources
- Driving improved time-to-market
- Multi-product development sprints
- Customer analysis and feature prioritizing
Furthermore, the course provides an ideal overview of practical agile functionality in modern enterprises.
Who It's For
PSPO I is meant for anyone with a fundamental understanding of the practical application of agile concepts in a modern development setting.
While it's not necessary to take the accompanying course, applicants are highly recommended to do so since the course delivers a detailed knowledge roadmap of the subject matter, as well as a free attempt at the certification exam.
To learn more, visit the Professional Scrum Product Owner I certification by Scrum.org.
5) Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
Duration: 14 hours (live online training), 16 hours (in-person training)
The Certified ScrumMaster certification by Scrum Alliance is a leadership role that provides the knowledge and ability to lead scrum teams and implement scrum methodologies in a legacy environment.
The course progression offers a high-level understanding of artifacts, events, and various team roles within the agile architecture.
The CSM certification allows candidates to:
- Lead teams and departments in adopting agile practices
- Learn the foundation and scope of the scrum leadership
- Engage with scrum team members and enable consistent collaboration
- Implement continuous agility improvement benchmarks
- Drive progressively better product development
Additionally, the course helps the ScrumMaster better direct their team towards task progression and prevent unnecessary distractions, as well as redundant tasks.
Who It's For
CSM is for scrum team members who are either looking to move up the agile ranks within their own departments, or project management experts seeking a more product-conscious role.
Additionally, it's one of the most rewarding set of credentials for product developers who want to eventually become full-fledged product owners or certified scrum trainers within the course of a year.
To learn more, visit Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) by Scrum Alliance.
6) Certified SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)
Duration: 2-day course, 1.5-hour exam
The Certified SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager are product ownership credentials unique to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
The Scaled Agile Framework is a combination of tried and tested agile practices that are condensed into a single product ownership course that applicants can attain.
SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager delivers the following competencies:
- Applying the Agile and/or Lean mindset to product development
- Product ownership via SAFe Principles and practical methods
- Writing epics, capabilities, stories, and features.
- Prioritizing value-driven aspects of development
- Identifying customer needs
In addition to this, certified professionals can single out the most important market demands on the end-user level, and address them via collaboration with operations teams.
Who It's For
POPM is for anyone looking to better articulate the product ownership role, as well as connect the Agile-Lean principles they learn through the course, with the practical PO role.
There are no specific prerequisites to the certification except for the accompanying two-day course. Some experience in a Lean environment is preferred but not necessary.
To learn more, visit the Certified SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager by Scaled Agile.
7) APMG International Agile Project Management
Duration: 2.5-hour exam
The International Agile Project Management certification enables project managers to bring agile principles and scrum methodologies into internal project management.
The course is meant to empower product owners, letting them implement more streamlined and faster product development, testing, and delivery. Additionally, it also helps managers prevent product development costs from going up needlessly.
The AgilePM certification instills multiple competencies, including:
- Ensuring adherence to Lean and agile methodologies in the workplace
- Ability to develop faster, more streamlined development procedures
- Inter-departmental collaboration and communication
- Cross-functional team management
- Multi-industry project management and delivery
The program is also beneficial for product or project managers with very little experience of working in an agile capacity.
Who It's For
The AgilePM course is for experienced project managers who are looking to shift to more functional and productive operations within their enterprise.
Additionally, it's an ideal program for agile team members seeking some project management expertise.
To learn more, visit APMG International Agile Project Management.
Becoming an Ideal Product Owner in 2021
When it comes down to the fundamentals, product ownership is all about knowing the product from the inside out, learning what the customer wants/needs with regards to the product, and conveying that information to the development team.
What makes product owners so effective is their in-depth knowledge of the product.
This allows them to know exactly how customer demands can be implemented successfully on to the product. They analyze the resources and time it may take to accomplish this, create a roadmap, and send it into development.
Furthermore, they are in constant collaboration with the devs to ensure timely delivery.
However, how do product owners accomplish all that in 2021? More importantly, what does it take to be a successful product owner in 2021?
Here are some valuable pointers:
- Customer Affinity: Speaking with stakeholders and implementing their demands on the product catalog is important. More important though, is listening to the customer and discovering their latent needs which they or may not have thought of.
- Ability to Delegate: Since product owners can have a scrum leadership position, they need to be able to gauge each of their team member's strengths and delegate them tasks accordingly. Developing an informal team of de facto product owners may also help streamline development
- Cross-Functionality: The modern product owner needs to be able to operate in multiple capacities, and have some level of expertise in all the roles within an agile team.
Most vital of all though, is the ability to utilize a variety of tools and resources at their disposal to learn about the customer, and see how they can provide solutions for them.
Online courses are becoming more of a norm than in-person ones, and 2021 has seen a huge number of managerial roles follow online certifications and diplomas.
This makes it all the more beneficial to attain as many credentials as needed to drive a product owner career.
In conclusion, anybody looking to either become a product owner or progress their career till they achieve that position, should develop a habit of consistent learning if they want to succeed in 2021 and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about product owner certifications.
What is the best certification for product owner?
The best certification for product ownership is the One Week Product Owner by Product Manager HQ. This is a good option because it will teach you about product management, but also the skills of managing software developers and creating a product roadmap.
What certifications do I need to become a product owner?
To become a product owner, you need certifications that will allow you to understand customer needs and ensure the company meets those needs through its products. Product Manager HQ is a great resource for this, as they have certifications that cover product management, but also managing software developers and creating a product roadmap.
How much does Product Owner Certification cost?
A Product Owner Certification costs $299 - $1000, which is the cost of on-demand product management training.
Is Certified Scrum Product Owner worth it?
The Certified Scrum Product Owner is worth it if you want to learn how to work with a Scrum team and lead product development. For example, this certification will teach you about the product backlog at different stages of software projects.