Businesses generating Value x Bankrupt Businesses

Every successful business, without exception, has a characteristic: they create value for the customers it has. This simple point is what differentiates successful companies from companies that go bankrupt, and we will show you how a good Product Owner can make all the difference for your business to be of the first type.

Companies that generate value for their customers earn money, while companies that do not or do it in a smaller proportion make less or nothing. But how do companies create value for their customers?

When a customer feels that there is more value to the service or goods he is purchasing than to the money itself, he is led to buy or consume from some company. This is the principle behind capitalism: the system of voluntary exchanges.

The role of the Product Owner (PO)

To make sure that your company is working in a way to generate maximum value to customers (and thus bringing the maximum possible gains), the Product Owner figure enters.

Being one of the three fundamental roles to use Scrum, the PO is the one who should have a closer view of the stakeholders (all those to whom the product or service will benefit) so that the team can know what tasks to perform so that they have a greater impact as soon as possible, generating value as soon as possible for customers.

The role of the Product Owner is to define user stories (a method widely used in agile methodologies to describe tasks to be performed) and to prioritize the backlog of a product or project. We like to say that one of the primary responsibilities of a PO is knowing how to say “no” when a task is not a priority, to refine the Backlog by value. He is the one who must maintain the conceptual integrity of the new features, bugs, or improvements so that they follow a defined vision for the product or project. Also, he is responsible for the final quality of deliveries, being the only one who must have the power to accept tasks as completed or reject them.

Skills of a Product Owner

The PO needs, mainly, two skills: planning and communication. As he is the one who has the vision of what the customer needs or would value, he must plan deliveries so that the tasks that will most generate value for customers are always carried out first.

In addition to planning, he must have tremendous communication skills to get the thoughts out of his head so that everyone on the Scrum Team has an understanding of what is required and what are the requirements for saying that task can have the status of “ Completed ”. A PO communication error can cause the Scrum Team to waste time performing a job in the wrong way if they misinterpret it.

It is worth remembering that the Product Owner has no power or responsibility when we talk about how the team should act or through what processes they will execute what was proposed.

How does a PO work?

Backlog Refinement

Taking advantage of the inputs from the Scrum Team and the Scrum Master, in addition to his ideas for stories or tasks, the Product Owner must refine the Backlog, and that means, in addition to building it, also improving and maintaining it.

Last but not least, he must perform the task that often characterizes the PO: prioritizing the Backlog in order of value and dependencies.

Sprint Planning

At this stage, the PO must review and reprioritize the Backlog stories and tasks to prepare for the Sprint Planning meeting. During the meeting, the Product Owner should be the biggest source of information about the details of the stories and priorities and has the responsibility to accept the final planning made by the team.

Elaboration of daily tasks

While the Sprint happens, the PO must elaborate and break most of the Backlog stories, which can be included by any member at any time, with the definitions of “done” that they think are the right ones, so that they are broken, and the criteria are met. Accepted or modified to keep the process fluid.

Acceptance (or rejection) of tasks

The PO, being the voice and vision of the client within the team, is the only one that has the power to accept or reject stories. For that, it is enough to be consistent with the acceptance criteria previously agreed with the team, ensuring that deliveries are of quality and focusing primarily on products or parts of products ready to use.

Participate in the Sprint Retrospective

As one of the full members of the team and responsible for the requirements, the Product Owner has a significant role in the Sprint Retrospective, reviewing the stories and accepting them. At this meeting, it is also important to provide feedback and collect information for stakeholders.

Final considerations

Working as a Product Owner can be tiring, but it is usually an extremely enriching and satisfying experience. Finally, it is worth remembering the first principle of the Agile Manifesto:

“Individuals and their interaction more than processes and tools.”

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