In Scrum, the product owner is the person who represents the customers or users wants and desires (goals and visions). The product owner is usually a key individual who may in many instances control the funding for the project to be developed, or if he or she doesn’t control funding, is responsible to those who do for delivering their visions in a way their return on investment is maximized.
Defining the Vision (Project Responsibilities)
The product owner is responsible for breaking down the overall goals, which many times are in marketing terms, into a series of smaller segments. He or she is responsible for creating a product backlog report which is a prioritized list of product requirements with estimated time for their completion. The product backlog report is one of the product owner’s key responsibilities to create and maintain but may be delegated to others to do.
A product owner team may even be created to accomplish this. However, if this is done one member of the product owner’s team should be designated as spokesman. The spokesman is the only person that the Scrum development team goes to for final answers to their questions. Decisions should not be made by committee.
It is important for the product owner to share and involve the Scrum development team with the visions of the organization. The product owner should answer all team questions and listen to any suggestions from them for adding, deleting, changing or improving on the user’s goals. This is important for motivating the team and for getting user feedback.
Besides defining the goals of the project, the product owner is responsible for defining the boundaries or constraints for attaining the goals. Constraints such as deadline completion dates, cost limits, memory limits, speed minimums, etc.. The limits or constraints the product owner asks for must be possible to attain. The product owner must be careful not to ask for unrealistic or technically impossible goals. If, however, some unrealistic goals are submitted, at least with Scrum there is constant communication between a user, or user’s representative and the development team, and early identification is likely.
Prioritization of Tasks
Another important factor that affects the realization of goals is prioritization of tasks in a sprint. The team works first on those segments that are most important and when completed can be released to the user or customer for their incorporation. These are usually job segments that bring high product value and positively affect ROI. By releasing completed chunks of prioritized work in a sprint, portions of your product is on the market faster than in traditional projects where completed work is released in total at the end.
Because projects can last for a considerable length of time, this is very important because user feedback, good or bad, comes back to you a lot sooner. This feedback usually means a change to what is left to do in the project. Some goals may be altered, some eliminated, and some new goals added to the project. Because the changes came while the project was still being worked on, there is much more of a likelihood that they can be incorporated at less cost than if the project was already completed.
Incorporating changes whether sooner or later is assumed by Scrum as going to happen. No project then is considered to be ended once for all time. Even if attained as originally requested we always want to be able to improve on our goals. In this respect defining our visions is a never ending process and has a life of its own.
Agile Methodology that Works Best for Your Organization's Needs
While Scrum framework, one of the popular Agile frameworks, has been adapted by many organizations, there are other Agile methodologies that have been proven to be the right choice for other companies.
Our comprehensive Agile knowledge library will guide you through various Agile frameworks and Agile Project Management practices to choose the right process that will adapt to your organization's needs.
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