Expert Product Owner

  • Full Time
  • Toronto

Canadian National Railway

At CN, we work together to move our company—and North America—forward. Be part of our Information & Technology (I&T) team, a critical piece of the engine that keeps us in motion.

From enterprise architecture to operational technology, our teams use the agile methodology to automate and digitize our railroad ensuring our operations run optimally and safely and our employees can focus on value-added tasks. You will be able to develop your skills and career in our close-knit, safety-focused culture working together as ONE TEAM.

The careers we offer are meaningful because the work we do matters. Join us!

Job Summary

The role of Expert, Product Owner (PO), is to act as the SAFe AGILE team’s primary customer advocate (ie the “voice of the customer”).

The PO is responsible for the creation of user story specifications and ensuring the overall cohesion of the all the product’s specifications (including UX specifications and non-functional requirements (NFR)). This enables the team to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders while continuously evolving the Solution.

A PO is accountable for drafting user stories, refine feasibility and effort estimation, communicating the specifications, and prioritizing the product backlog based on maximizing business value and ensuring proper product functionality. The role is also vital to ensuring quality and customer satisfaction.

The PO collaborates closely with a cross-functional team made up of customers, the Product Manager, BAs, the scrum teams and the product development teams throughout the product lifecycle, from Specification phase to Customer Rollout.

This role is not to be confused with the role of a Product Manager, who is accountable for product roadmaps and high-level features

Main Responsibilities
Manage customer relations
• Create trusted relationships between I&T and the customers and prospective users, ensuring a clear communication channel and that product evolution expectations on either side are aligned.
• Have regular contact with key customers, provide updates, be able to demo the new product features and address any queries related to the product.
• Work with the customers to understand their business, anticipate their needs, identify opportunities.
• Translate the customers’ needs into product specifications and priorities.
• Act as the voice-of-the-customer throughout the SAFe AGILE process.
• Collaborate closely with Product Manager(s) and customers during Intake Management phase by providing input and expertise on feature definitions, prioritization and go-to-market strategy.

Create and maintain user stories and backlog

Act as the lead for the Specifications phase of the SAFe AGILE process. based on an intimate knowledge of the customers and technology, the PO’s accountabilities include:

· Analyze preferences and requests of customers and end users.

· Analyze the existing processes and business rules as input into the to-be specifications.

· Draft user stories with appropriately detailed specifications as per PO standard template, including coordinating the collection of the preliminary functional, non function and UX specifications from the relevant team members to ensure the clarity and accuracy of the product requirements.

· Define the Acceptance criteria.

· Define any required Enablers, including exploration, architectural, infrastructure and compliance enablers.

· Perform, and sign-off on, quality checks of the user stories.

· Refine the feature feasibility assessment and high-level effort and time estimates

· Own, maintain, prioritize and commit the backlog of user stories to ensure work focuses on those with a maximum value that are aligned with product strategy and roadmap.

· Identify the user story business value explicitly. Help the customer understand the value and value proposition.

Act in a supporting role for the remaining phases of the SAFe AGILE process.

This includes:

· During Architecture and Design phase: Oversee the refinement of the user stories and perform and sign-off on quality checks. Help make trade-off decisions.

· During Build phase: Support delivery teams and ensure they deliver based on specifications.

Help make trade-off decisions.

· During Test phase: Provide input on test data setup. Act on behalf of the customer to perform UAT testing and acceptance of user stories and enablers.

Validate that the Acceptance Criteria has been met satisfactorily.

· Throughout the SAFe AGILE process: Participate in all SAFe AGILE ceremonies (including scrum meetings, sprint plans and PI plans). Solve user-story-related problems, make decisions, complete trade-off analysis to stay on track towards business value and deliverable commitments.

Comply with SAFe AGILE PO Practice

· Remain up-to-date with CN’s SAFe AGILE practices, process and artifacts.

· Take guidance from PO Manager on usage and compliance to PO standards.

· Facilitate the definition and tracking of key metrics related to the product (e.g. flow, rework, quality)

· Guide the customers in what to expect from the SAFe AGILE process and the role they play.

· Provide feedback and continuous improvement suggestions to the PO Manager for the PO Practice and artifacts.

Working Conditions

The role has standard working conditions in an office environment with a regular workweek from Monday to Friday.

Due to the nature of the role, the incumbent must be able to meet tight deadlines, handle pressure, and stress. The role requires minimal travel (up to 20%) in accordance with CN policy for meetings within Canada and the United States (U.S.).



• Minimum 7-10 years overall work experience.

• Experience in transportation logistic companies.

• Experience in a Product Ownership or related role.

• Software development experience, with I&T or Applied Engineering context.

• Demonstrated experience in engaging senior leaders and other stakeholders to support business decisions.

• Experience in shaping, building, scaling and sustaining products.

• Experience in diverse roles and increasing responsibilities across Business and IT, although a business-only career is acceptable if business roles included sufficient technology focus.


• Experience working with complex systems in large organizations.

• Minimum of 3 years working in or with Design Thinking and Lean / Agile software delivery teams.


• Bachelor’s Degree in computer science, business administration or an equivalent degree and experience.


• Knows the business and stays current on industry needs.

• Communicates with impact.

• Demonstrates agility and drives change.

• Applies critical thinking.

• Collaborates with others and shares information.

• Identifies needs and finds solutions to create value for all stakeholders.


• In-depth knowledge and experience of the Product Ownership discipline

• Business acumen, and the ability to communicate with executives, business domain stakeholders and technical staff alike.

• Excellent analytical and technical skills.

• Experience with SW Development methodologies (Agile, Devops, etc.).

• Familiarity with the principles of Design Thinking

• Vision and passion for building great products.

• Experienced in requirements analysis.

This position is posted as a grade 7.

For internal candidates, note that the grade level of the position may adjust based on the employee’s experience.

About CN

CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler. Essential to the economy, to the customers, and to the communities it serves, CN safely transports more than 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured products, and finished goods throughout North America every year.

As the only railroad connecting Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the Southern tip of the U.S. through a 19,500 mile rail network, CN and its affiliates have been contributing to community prosperity and sustainable trade since 1919. CN is committed to programs supporting social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

At CN, we work as ONE TEAM, focused on safety, sustainability and our customers, providing operational and supply chain excellence to deliver results.

For internal candidates, note that the grade level of the position will depend on the employee’s experience.

At CN, we are dedicated to building North America’s safest, most inclusive and sustainable railroad, which includes reflecting the communities in which we operate. Research shows that candidates from underrepresented groups often don’t apply unless they feel they fit the job posting at 100%.

Even if you don’t see yourself in every job requirement listed in a posting, we still encourage you to apply. If you require an accommodation for the recruitment process (including alternate formats of materials, accessible meeting rooms or other accommodations), please reach out to our team at [email protected].

As an equal employment opportunity employer, all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, and other protected status as required by applicable law.

We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only candidates under consideration will be contacted. Please monitor your email on a regular basis, as communication is primarily made through email.