Agile for Beginners: “Product Owner” (PART 2) - Agile Serbia

Agile for Beginners: “Product Owner” (PART 2)

The Owner of product success

How does the project/product development process work?

The whole process is like a dance in which everyone participates. All the time, there is persistence in collective engagement and making the best decisions for the team at a given moment. It happens that during the process, the team receives new information and then they discuss and decide together what to do further. While everyone on the team is equal and has the right to speak their mind, the Product Owner is responsible for delivering the product and maximizing the value the Scrum team provides. In short, the Product Owner is the CEO of the product.

That’s why the Product Owner defines:

  • The goal – should be realistic, transparent, and clear to everyone
  • Tasks (WHAT to do) – to fulfill the goal, but not individual tasks of team members (HOW to do)
  • Deadlines – detailed short-term, at the sprint level, but with a vision of everything that is feasible in the next few sprints
  • Priorities – determining the sequence of delivery of functionality from the most significant to the least significant. “If everything is important, nothing is important”

The product development process goes through sequences

There are three sequences:

  • Transparency (transparency) – the work process must be visible to everyone in the working team, as well as to everyone who receives the work product. If transparency is weak, it can lead to poor decisions and increased risk.
  • Control (Inspection) – Control without transparency is deceptive and useless. Progress towards achieving the goal must be monitored frequently and in detail, to avoid potential problems.
  • Adaptation (adaption) – Control without adaptation is meaningless. If it is found that there is a deviation, it is necessary to make an adequate adjustment.

The Scrum way of working is based on changes and adaptations for the better, and therefore it is desirable to have empowered and self-organizing teams. In traditional systems, the decision-making process takes a very long time, due to the rigid hierarchical structure, and therefore any adaptation to a change is slow. Short “time to market” is a big advantage of agile teams. However, speed is not the primary parameter, but the true value delivered in stages.

In order to set priorities and make estimates, the Values and Risks matrix helps them.

  • The priority should be a product that brings the greatest value but also has a high risk for realization (innovation). In this situation, the goal is to reduce risk.
  • The second priority should be a product that has a high value but has a low risk (improvement of an existing product). In this situation, the goal is to increase value.
  • The third priority should be a product that has a low value, but also a low risk (product ready for delivery).
  • Products in the low-value and high-risk section should be avoided.

To conclude, the role of the Product Owner is very important in Agile organizations, but it is also very demanding in terms of personal qualities, knowledge, and skills that make a successful Product Owner.

Go back to PART 1.

If you want to learn how to be a successful Product Owner, we can help. Check out our CSPO course and join us.

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