Product Owner-the hero of the last action
Agile approach to software development has become very popular all over the world in recent years. As a result, more and more organizations in Poland are switching from the classic, or mostly waterfall, approach to agile approach, yielding to the magic of the promise of faster development of their own software. However, it often turns out that organizations do not fully realize that for an agile approach to make sense and work efficiently, you need not only a good, qualified team, but also someone on the side of “business”. That someone is the product owner.
The product owner is the most important point of contact between the scrum team and the organization for which the team develops the software. It must be a person on the client side who not only knows the specifics of his employer’s business, but also will be able to participate in the work of the scrum team, to the extent necessary to complete the project successfully.
In this article, I will try to approximate what the product owner should be characterized by in Scrum projects. For this purpose, I created a list of the most important qualities that must be characterized by a person who will find himself well as the owner of the productso:
- Product knowledge
- Availability for the team
- Well – established position in the organization
- Knowledge of the process
- Role awareness
- Openness to suggestions and solutions
Below, however, is a comment on each of them.
Scrum is effective primarily when the team has as much information as possible about the requirements in a given project. They must be up-to-date and continuously verified. Without this, mistakes are possible, which in the long run can significantly slow down the development of the project. The role of the product owner is precisely to provide the team with knowledge about the business goals and objectives, as well as to verify that these goals have not changed and are fully implemented in the project.
Availability for the team
During a scrum software development project, team members often need to be consulted about the business assumptions of the task. This is due to the very essence of agile approach, in which actions must be continuously verified and adjusted to business realities. Therefore, the product owner must be available and available to the team to answer questions that will provide team members with the necessary information regarding business objectives.
Well – established position in the organization
The product owner is a kind of mediator between the team and the organization, and it is his responsibility to explain the various design variables to all stakeholders, both on the client side and on the team. Therefore, it must be a person who has authority in the organization, which will allow it to effectively implement the goals and maintain a balance between the team and the client.
Knowledge of the process
While it is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to follow and translate the scrum process, the product owner also needs to know the scrum process, what lies within the scrum master’s remit, and what he or she is responsible for. It is especially important to be aware that after accepting a task during sprint review, he takes full responsibility for the accepted functionality.
The product owner is responsible for the product, not for the team, so he is not its “boss”. If the person acting as the product owner assumes that he can “order” the team to perform a specific task, despite clear and well-founded objections, this can lead not only to a decrease in the level of self-organization, but also to a decrease in the speed of delivery of the finished product with a business value defined at the beginning.
Openness to suggestions and solutions
The product owner knows the business requirements, but it is the team that is responsible for delivering them. Therefore, the solutions proposed by the scrum team should, after having explained them in advance, be trusted. However, the product owner can also offer his own solutions, which he considers better-if, Of course, his technical and business knowledge allows him to do so.
Author: Igor Karkoszka, Scrum Master