Why a product owner is crictical to successful scrum?

Product Owner

One of the most common problems for Agile projects and whether they are successful or not is getting the necessary involvement from the business a team is working with or on behalf of. 

Although this can be an issue for any style of project, it seems to impact those following Scrum and Agile frameworks where they need a fast exchange of feedback loop between the team and the business to help prioritise the work and make sure the project is delivering what the business requires.

When there is less than desirable levels of involvement from the business in the project, it can affect all the base core values of Agile, responding to change, customer collaboration, working software and individuals and interactions. 

Therefore, as well as strong and committed involvement from a business you are working with, you need a great Product Owner. In the following post, we are going to open this subject up more and discuss the reasons for someone interested in product management residing in Asia/Oceania to consider a Certified Scrum Product Owner Training (CSPO) in Australia. First, though, lets discuss what a product owner really is.

What is a Product Owner and What Does the Role Entail?

As you will undoubtedly want to make sure the Agile project you are working on is delivering value to your client, the business you are working on behalf of, the Product Owner is probably the most important role for ensuring this happens.

As its the Product Owners responsibility to maximise the ROI from a project, they need to manage the product backlog of project work. That means describing work items and placing priority on the backlog to get the best value from the development team for the business. 

Product Owners are always facing in two directions on projects – towards the Scrum development team and the business and its targeted customers. This is a role that is undertaken by one person and they represent their business on the project and both the Scrum team, and the business should respect any decisions they need to make. 

Now we know the important role a Product Owner has, what defines a great Product Owner…

What Makes a Product Owner a Great Product Owner?

There are various criteria and qualities that an individual need to possess or develop to be the most successful and effective Product Owner they can be, including: 

   •     The full trust of the individual or group paying for a project and the ability to represent their needs

   •     Fully understand and appreciate the business and problems they are looking to solve with the project

   •     Has or can gain in-depth knowledge of customers and usersneeds from the software in development

   •     Can make decisions, knowing what will deliver the most value for the project and the business

   •     Has confidence and can defend their opinion and stance, without being swayed by team politics or those who simply possess the loudest and most persuasive voices

   •     Has great communication skills

   •     Offers protection for the Scrum development team from other influences and opinions. Any decisions made that affect the work involved in the project should always be directed to the Product Owner.

   •     Fully understands and is well-versed in Agile and Scrum methodology, how projects function, their role and the expectations everyone else on the project has for them

   •     Readily available to the Scrum team every day and at every sprint or iteration and is there in person for all key events such as String Retrospectives, Sprint Reviews, Daily Stand-ups, Sprint Planning and Requirements Management. 

   •     Can work effectively with the Scrum Master and the rest of the development team but is also able to ensure all members of individual teams are working at the items of the highest priority for each sprint or iteration. 

   •     Able to make sure the product backlog is easy to follow and visible to all project team members and the business, so that everyone knows where the project is in the stream of time and what the next priorities are.