Collaborative Projects: The Role of the Product Owner

April 9, 2021

The role of the product owner is a rewarding one. While it demands an individual with certain characteristics, including business savviness, strong communication skills and regular availability, there’s no need to stress about going it alone.

Read on to discover how to make sure product ownership in your next software development project is agile, well-organised and collaborative every step of the way.

 

What Does a Project Owner Do?

A product owner has to understand the business objectives a project is fulfilling, know what your users need from your product, and find the tech required to build and support the end product.

Product owners sit at the core of the software development lifecycle as the primary point of contact between the client and the development team. Put simply, product owners are an integral part of the development process that stops everyone from working in silo, and instead part of a dedicated team.

At GearedApp, we do things a little bit differently where product ownership is concerned. We’ve found it highly advantageous to make the designated product owner someone from our client’s side. After all, who knows your company’s needs better than you?

 

Product Owner Responsibilities

Acting as the Primary Liaison

Being a key player in both your company and the development project make you the bridge between the two. The product owner needs to put their communication skills to test to make sure there’s buy-in from the decision-makers and stakeholders.

Defining the Vision and Product Features

Part of the product owner’s responsibilities involves articulating a vision of what you want to build, then communicating the concepts and ideas clearly to the scrum team.

Overseeing Each Development Stage

Scrum works by splitting the project into “mini-projects” called sprints. Instead of knowing where you want to end up at the start of the project, as product owner, you’ll be involved in every stage of the process using a step-by-step approach.

Keeping Your Company’s Needs in Mind

Successful scrum product owners are experts at understanding and anticipating their company’s needs along the way. Regularly stepping back and looking at the big picture makes the development process easier to manage.

Prioritising Project Requirements

As product owner, you’ll also have to think about budget, resources and scope throughout the development journey. As the project evolves over time, you’ll need to work out the most flexible areas to change.

Evaluating the Project at Every Iteration

Scrum teams work transparently and share a feeling of joint responsibility in a project’s success. Product owners fill the role of inspecting and evaluating product progress through each iteration, making a judgement call on performance and improvements needed.

 

Here Are a Few Challenges You’ll Face as Product Owner

Lack of Planning and Prioritisation

Relevant customer data and market research are fundamental steps in the planning process. Without user information, both product owners and development teams are working in the dark. Successful agile development requires accurate data, well-defined user stories and strategic prioritisation as the project progresses.

Product Backlog

Product backlog is a list of prioritised work for the development team created from the product roadmap and all its requirements. If your developers don’t have access to backlog information and vital updates, there’s a serious risk of misaligning goals, deadlines and responsibilities.

Project Schedules and Delivering on Time

Product owners are responsible for forecasting deliverable. But, we get it. There are hundreds of variables and unknowns to bear in mind that it’s pretty much impossible to predict delivery times with pinpoint accuracy. Creating realistic time scales help you build confidence in product ownership and support the development team manage objectives and efficiency.

 

What Makes A Great Product Owner?

The best product owners make sure they’ve carefully thought-through their vision and goals by taking the time to think about the project’s priorities before the work begins.

As a product owner, you’re more than just the messenger. You’ll have to take the views of the decision-makers in your company into account and add to the product backlog throughout. You’ll also have to play an active role in working through conflicting interests.

To truly thrive as product owner, you’ll also need to delegate tasks out. Enter Scrum Master! A great product owner knows how and when to pass responsibilities — from technical product ownership to organising and facilitating Scrum events like sprint planning sessions.

 

Why is Collaboration Important in Product Ownership?

Collaboration is the success of any project. A responsive product owner gets involved and sits in on most meetings — even if the details start to get a wee bit technical! At other times those conversations will be about your business and end-users, which is when the development team really benefits from your input and knowledge.

You’re the sector-specialist about your business and industry, meaning your expertise will be a guiding light for developers. To make our partnership as collaborative as it can be, we’ll support you with all the software and tech know-how.

We’ll be a force to be reckoned with!

team meeting

You’re Not On Your Own: We’ll Be Here To Support You Every Step of the Way

Being a product owner is no doubt a big responsibility. But, with regular communication and productive meetings, your software development project will be a roaring success.

Our number one piece of advice for companies looking to embark on a development journey is to make sure the designated product owner understands the project goals and vision, plus receives the time and resources to get stuck in.

Make Your Next Development Project a Collaborative One With GearedApp

Our friendly team of pros will be with you every step of the way, from our initial sit-down chat all the way to releasing the finished product. Discover our process to find out more about how GearedApp works.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help turn your awesome ideas into a digital reality.

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