Jan 23rd, 2020

How To Become A Product Owner: Stepwise Approach?


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Scrum is a software development methodology that emphasizes cross-functional teams, continuous feedback, and transparent decision-making. The product owner's role is to create and explain the product vision, while developers use a product backlog guideline to develop software according to the team's goals.

The product owner's job is to create each backlog item, prioritize the steps, and communicate them to the development team. They also ensure that customer needs are met during the development process.

Roles and responsibilities of a product owner

According to Roman Pichler, the paramount responsibility of a product owner is to guarantee that the product creates value for its users, customers, and the company.

  1. Set the vision: Apart from setting the goal, the product owner also aligns with the company’s strategy, meets' users’ needs, and fulfills the mission. This is a crucial responsibility. The vision needs to be communicated to the stakeholders, team members, and everyone who is a part of the project.
  2. Develop the product roadmap: It is the responsibility of a product owner to develop roadmaps that accomplish both long- and short-term goals.
  3. Develop product strategy: A product strategy breaks down the product’s vision in the course of time and defines the market, the value proposition, the offering, the distribution, the pricing, and much more.
  4. Communicate with development teams, stakeholders, and scrum masters: A product owner educates stakeholders; organizes funding; relays status; negotiates budget, scope, funding & schedule; performs solution demos.

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5 Steps to Become a Product Owner

  • 1Are you considering becoming a product owner? What skills are most important for success? Explore what it takes to advance your career, including salaries, advancement opportunities, and job search tips.
  • 2Get a bachelor's degree -The best preparation for a career as a product owner is a bachelor's degree in computer science, IT, or a related field. It is a highly technical position. You should cover computer engineering, software design, data structures, computer programming languages, and complex mathematics during your degree program. Typically, four years is the length of this type of program.
  • 3Gain project management experience - To become a product owner, you typically need to have experience managing projects for at least two years. Agile is a unique software development and project management approach, so you must develop your skills in planning, monitoring, and executing projects. Volunteering or working on the job can provide you with this experience.
  • 4Finish Scrum training - Agile product owners work within the Scrum framework, so you must complete training with this framework if you want to be an Agile product owner. In addition, the Agile Academy offers Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) training and advanced A-CSPO training. Each of these courses takes 14 hours online or 16 hours on-site.
  • 5Become a certified professional- You can seek three levels of Professional Scrum Product Owner certification through Scrum.org. After passing 60-minute examinations, candidates for the PSPO I and PSPO II certifications are given certificates. A 120-minute evaluation must be finished to receive the PSPO III certification. You may get certified as a Certified Scrum Professional - Product Owner through the Agile Academy by passing a different 14- or 16-hour training course. It's necessary to complete the A-CSPO training. There isn't a test.
  • 6Become an active member of the Agile community- The most fantastic way to be ready for a career as a product owner without having experience in entry-level jobs is to become well-established within the Agile community. Attending conferences, meetings, and online organizations will help you achieve this. In addition, finding a mentor may be made possible by participating in these activities. More than your certificates, many employers respect your efforts in the Agile community. Therefore, while obtaining a certification will teach you how to flourish in the role of a product owner, it will ultimately be your relationships and achievements within the Agile community that will help you secure the job. In addition, participating in the Agile community may gain some of the practical experience you'll need for your first product owner job.

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What skills does a product owner need?

  • 1Although the job description of a product owner can be organization-specific or industry-specific, here are some of the basic skills that a product owner needs to succeed.
  • 2Authority to do the work: The product owner must be empowered to make necessary and timely decisions and complete the project.
  • 3Leadership: Right from the beginning, a product owner should lead the project. The product owner is the developer of the vision, team, and project.
  • 4Decision-Making: The capability of making quick and authorized decisions is one of the preliminary skills of a product owner.
  • 5Communication: Having excellent communication skills is of great significance for a product owner. They connect the people with information.
  • 6Delegation: The product owner should be aware of the skillset of their team members and hence guarantee smooth collaboration.
  • 7Conflict Resolution: Disagreements are very much a part of every project. The product owners should know how to find solutions while solving conflicts.
  • 8Stakeholder Management: This can define the difference between chaos and progress. Ensuring the team meets objectives and resolves issues at the earliest is of crucial importance.
  • 9Development & product experience: Though a product owner need not be a trained or experienced software engineer, having a basic idea of the processes involved in software development is crucial to developing workflows and handling stakeholders and their expectations.
  • 10Tactical skills: Having an elementary idea about everyday activities and knowing what work will be completed and when is another important skill that a product owner must have.
  • 11Market & customer insights: The product owner is the one who provides basic information about the product- pricing, features, marketing strategies, sales forecasts, etc. Therefore, having a better understanding and strong knowledge of customers and the market is critical for them.

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Is The Product Owner And Scrum Master Can Be The Same Person?

To maximize the value of the product created by the Development Team, the PO is essential. In addition to managing Product Backlog, they are responsible for the following:

  • Defining Product Backlog elements in detail;
  • Setting the Product Backlog's priorities to accomplish the purpose;
  • Maximizing the value of the development team's labor;
  • Make sure the Product Backlog is clear;
  • Establishing requirements for the Development Team within the Product Backlog. Between three competing priorities—supporting the Project Owner, Development Team, and Organization—the Scrum Master occupies a key position. To maximize value, Scrum is implemented, promoted, and supported by Scrum Masters.
  • While monitoring the Product Backlog and comprehending future product requirements, collaborating with the PO to set goals, scope, and product scope;
  • Encouraging cross-functionality, facilitating Scrum events, and reducing obstructions to the development process; coaching the development team to self-organize.
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The Scrum Master and Product Owner Should Not Be The Same

  • 1On paper, it is easy to see how the roles are organized and given assignments to create separation. However, there were differing opinions on how practicable it would be to combine these jobs. Some others said it might be - under the appropriate circumstances - while others flat-out said "No"!
  • 2The two have natural friction because of their distinct positions and duties. The Product Owner assigns tasks a priority and instructs teams to concentrate on achieving sprint objectives. The team's self-organization is facilitated by the Scrum Master, who also shields them from outside meddling.
  • 3If the Scrum Master and Product Owner were the same individuals, the Product Owner's job would probably take precedence. The SM represents the team, whereas the PO promotes the ideal customers. The division presents a rational argument contrasting customer expectations with technological viability.
  • 4The Product Owner should be OK with (or interested in) how it is done. What is done, and why should the Product Owner have main concerns? How things are done is within the control of the SM and their team. Getting in the way of this might damage the situation (with catastrophic results for the product).
  • 5A Product Owner doesn't observe the process; they see the completed product. They might need to be made aware of limitations in technology or be familiar with them. The task was biased when the Scrum Master and Product Owner were combined, and independent, subjective mediation was prevented when there was divergence.
  • 6Another claim is that backlog management's importance is reducing product ownership volume. Understanding markets, testing, growth, profitability, and the lifecycle is key to its open position. It's improbable that you'll find anyone qualified even to hold both Scrum Master and Product Owner positions.
  • 7To sum up, the Scrum Master function is crucial for teams operating as part of an agile release train (ART). The Scrum Master coordinates amongst groups to guarantee each sprint's critical success, something POs are probably unable to achieve and are unfamiliar with managing on a wide scale.

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