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Product Owner Role

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Product Owner Role

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Consensus, is something everyone says collectively, but few agree individually.

According to the Standish Report, 64% of product features in a product are rarely or never used by customers!!!!

What a colossal waste!!

The Product Owner (P.O) as the name suggest is the “Owner of the Product” or representing someone who will own the product.

The main responsibilities of the product owner are the following

  • Product Vision/Ideation
  • Product Success
  • Product Budget
  • Elaborating their vision the development team

This is a huge charter. To succeed the P.O should engage the varied expertise in the organization to delivering value earlier and make the product successful. Organizational resources that the P.O can draw upon can be business analyst, marketing, sales, system architects, development team, technical leads and various other subject matter experts.

The journey for every product starts with an idea, the responsibility to progressively elaborate this idea and transform it into a working product is that of the P.O.  Also, the P.O ensures that they provide highest value of the product earlier. The P.O brings this value statement in reality by working closely with the Development Team, hence they are embedded with the development team, which is a departure from the traditional waterfall methodology.

The various aspects that the product owner is involved in the product evolution are

Release Management

The release management is an ongoing activity in Scrum, so the product owner talks to the various stakeholders, users, customers and development team to understand the business value of the product and how to bring it to technical fruition while responding to the evolving market needs.

Sprint

Product backlog refinement (aka grooming) and the sprint planning session should be led by the Product Owner. As it is in their interest to maximize the ROI on their vision (product backlog) and budget. To optimize their budget utilization the P.O needs to make sure that the development team clearly understands their idea to be able to deliver the best technical solution for the idea.

Sprint Review/Sprint Demo

It is the onus of the P.O to ensure that what they are accepting is of the highest negotiated quality and hold the team to that standard.

Product Owner Under Pressure.

Sometimes, P.O’s are under pressure to accept all User Stories that were planned to be delivered during the sprint planning session, i.e. 100% sprint delivery. This could be “Gaming the System, which means that the P.O will accept sib quality work to manage executive expectation. This will eventually result in product failure.  The P.O should be vigilant from the deferring the quality to be fixed on a later date, if not done immediately this will cause an accumulation of technical debt, which will cause loss in product adoption and eventually hemorrhage the budget to sustain this lower quality product. The executive team should understand the quality statement and ensure that the team adheres to the highest quality.

In a nut shell, the product owner should always be ensuring that they assist in delivering the highest value for a product and that the team understands their vision and quality statement.

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