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In a review article about Scrum, we found that the Product Owner works together with the Team. The Product owner is a leader who controls the creation of the Product and is responsible for the result.
Let us consider how the ideal Product Owner should look like.
The Product owner is an entrepreneur.
The Product owner should have an entrepreneurial mindset, that is, he understands how the business works, is able to inspire people, is not afraid to make mistakes and get feedback. The Product owner is a mini-CEO.
In addition to leadership qualities , the Product Owner knows the business, manufacturing and customers. Let’s look at what is included in each area.
Business. The Product Owner monitors the market situation and evaluates the business indicators of the Product.
Manufacturing. The Product Owner understands how to produce the Product and what tools are used by the Team. It is necessary to talk with the Team in the same language.
Customers. The Product owner knows why and who he creates a Product for. He constantly communicates with end users to understand what should be done next.
A vivid example of the real Product Owner — Steve jobs. He had the will and the resources to make the Product the way he saw it. Steve jobs made decisions on his own, not recognizing other people’s interference in the Product.
The Owner manages the Product development.
The Product owner is the captain of the ship, it takes all strategic decisions about the Product. What does the Product Owner do?
Decides what the Product will look like. The Product owner has knowledge, intuition and courage to bring his idea to life.
Creates and modifies the Product Backlog. It is impossible to create a Product with all necessary features instantly, therefore the Product Owner divides his idea for the pieces and puts them in priority order. This is Product Backlog. The Team takes these small tasks and creates a Product for a few times.
Due to the Product Backlog the Team understands what it will work on further, in which direction the Product is developing. The Product Owner is the only person who can create and make changes to the Backlog.
Recruits the Team. The Product owner recruits a Team that has the necessary skills for Product release. The purpose of the Product Owner is to help the Team: provide resources and remove bureaucratic obstacles.
The Product Owner does not give instructions to the Team and does not control the employees. The more important is a result, which the Team will demonstrate. During the Sprint, the Owner daily answers the questions to help the Team to do the job well.
Independently manages a budget. The Product Owner has a certain amount for the Product creation, that he is spending at his own discretion. For example, you may hire another expert to the Team, to buy equipment or to pay everybody a bonus.
Responsible for business performance and can stop development of the Product,if it causes to loss. In this case, the Team starts work on a new Product or its members are distributed to other Teams of the company.
In Scrum, there is the rule “1 Product — 1 Product Owner”. It is necessary that the Product Owner could make a decision without wasting time on meetings. The lack of bureaucracy allows the company to adapt to changing market conditions very quickly.
A Fake Product Owner
– Does not have the vision of the Product
– Delegates to others work with Product Backlog
– Dictates the Team what to do
– Monitors the progress of work
– Does not communicate with customers
– Does not use metrics to assess the success of the Product
– Continues the Product development, even if it is unprofitable
– Forced to request a budget for the needs of the Team and report back what it was spent on
– Does not know how to formulate and test hypotheses
A Real Product Owner
– Creates The Product Backlog
– Negotiates with the Team about deadlines and amounts
– Does not interfere with or control the work of the Team, but always connected
– Communicates regularly with customers
– Analyzes feedback and changes the direction of the development if necessary
– Thinks how to give users more value and reduce costs
– Manages a budget at his own discretion
Any person can be the Product Owner.
The Product Owner can be any Team member or even an outsider. Most importantly — an entrepreneurial style of thinking.
Former head. Usually, if the company starts to work on Scrum, one of the former leaders becomes the Product Owner, because he has the necessary knowledge in business, production and interaction with customers. He will have to discard the old installation and learn for agile thinking.
Employee. There can be another option when the Team member learns the structure of business and becomes the Product Owner. It takes more time, but to share the values of Agile can be easier for him than for the former boss.
The outside expert. When the former leaders do not want to work on Scrum, but the employee does not have enough knowledge to stand at the head of the company an expert from outside is invited. He will need time to penetrate in the specifics of the Product, but it is faster than to grow the Product Owner from the staff.
The Product owner in Scrum — is an entrepreneur and a mini-CEO, who is able to make quick decisions and take responsibility for the result. The success of the Scrum Team and the entire company directly depends on the Product Owner’s authority and freedom in actions.
The ideal Product Owner
– Manages the Product development
– Independent in his decisions
– Independently manages a budget
– Constantly connected with the Team
– Creates the conditions and does not interfere with workflow
– Responsible for the result