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How to be an Effective Product Owner?

“In today’s competitive business world, it is not enough to do your job well; to be truly effective you have to develop skills and strategies for things you will never have to do, and situations that will never come up.”


We must have seen various articles written on agile mindset, agile processes, and for scrum masters and agile coaches guiding them on performing effectively and to be good in their jobs. But there are very few articles that guide and help product owners on ways to perform effectively in their jobs. The reason is that most of the time people consider that as the product owner has reached that role they are well aware of what the agile mindset, agile processes is and even what they want to achieve in it and how to move forward. Hence mostly product owner needs for guidance are neglected.


But here we will avoid any assumptions regarding product owners and will try to help them in their role by giving some sneak peek to perform their work effectively. In this article, we will start with knowing the traditional view of product management as many product owners even having an agile mindset are stuck in it unknowingly.


The traditional way consists of steps as

Identifying customer's need- Establishing target specification- Generate product concept- Select product concept- Test product concept- Set final specification.


This way of working made all the upcoming tasks hang up until the previous one gets finalized making the costing ascending till the end. But with an agile mindset and agile processes, this scenario can be changed and constant the cost. The product owner can help in reducing this uncertainty and maintain the cost which we will know how to achieve in this article. The product owners must answer the below questions while they want to see their effective performance.

  • What are the product owner’s primary responsibilities?

  • What is the difference between scrum master and product owner roles?

  • What ideal skills should the product owners must possess?

  • What things should you expect to be performed without your participation?

Once you can know answers to this basic question you will be half your way to being an effective product owner as you will be clear with your duty and participation. Then the next step involves ways you will achieve that.


Avoid Assumptions.

Don’t assume anything, whether in the project or allocation and development of a product with team members. Don’t assume that the project information or what you expect is known by your team members without you telling them. If you want some particular working way, or feature to be added, or any business constraints speak it directly to them and don’t assume they will know it on their own.


Tell Stories with the Product Backlog

“Nothing sticks in your head better than stories. Stories can express the most complicated ideas in the most digestible way.”

This important task of product owners related to user stories carries a lot more weight in the way they handle it. The way of working with user stories is to split them into the product backlog and forward the product backlog to developers for feature creation. But the effective product owner will go beyond the working way and find out what way will transform the story into a product feature that will delight the users. Try to be with the developer during the complete process as much as possible. Organize training and ways which will help the team to have their skills developed. For example, ways to find out as many as and effective user stories the team can derive.


Be Understanding

You are the medium between your team members, stakeholders, and end-user so it becomes mandatory for a product owner to be an understanding person from both sides. Sometimes there are factors as constraining in the team’s ability to deliver what your vision is regarding the system. The factors may include cost, schedule, technical standards or constraints, legal standards, or design principles. So you need to be understanding with your team and team members. Always try to verify the user’s requirements before sharing them with the team for development.

By improving your habit on this you will be able to be an effective product owner. The product owner values his team members similar to their customers.


About Advance Agility We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium and large organization across the globe. Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients, move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting human centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitor. Connect with us at advanceagility.com to learn about SAFe and SAFe Implementation. Write to us at contact@advanceagilty.com for any agile training or consulting needs. We are always looking for competent agile trainers as well. So if you are a good trainer or want to become one, do get in touch with us to that we can learn, grow and achieve together. Develop the skillsets needed to guide the delivery of value in a Lean enterprise by becoming a SAFe® 5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)




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