You might have heard of 'agile working' in relation to software development. With this approach you assume that the circumstances can change during the development process, you respond to that and by doing so, you ensure a good end result. One form of agile working is the scrum method. This is an effective and flexible method for software development in a team that offers many advantages.
In the scrum development team, I work in the role of product owner. It is my job to maximize the performance of the team for the best end result for the customer. A challenging and varied job. These are the most important capabilities that you need to have as a product owner:
1. WORK TOGETHER; As a product owner you work together with many different people and parties; the scrum master, the development team, the customer, the project managers and the consultants. Sharing your opinion, listening carefully, discuss things together and communicate clearly are all very important.
2. SET PRIORITIES; Every day, new ideas pass by that are interesting to develop in the software. But the development capacity is limited. It is therefore crucial to distinguish between important issues and less important issues and to decide where to spend the valuable development time on.
3. ORGANIZE; The scrum method brings structure with it, everyone must clearly know his/her tasks and responsibilities. As a product owner you determine WHAT happens (not HOW), you give feedback in the review meeting, get the right people involved in the work and you monitor the progress.
4. FORM A VISION; Software development requires a long-term vision. You need to know where you want to be in the future with the software, keep an eye on how new technologies evolve and keep track of developments at your customers.
5. HAVE A FIRM OPINION; As a product owner you want top quality software for the customer. To achieve that goal you often need to say 'No', stick to what you have in mind and not just go where the wind blows.
The role of product owner is comprehensive and requires a strong personality. But it is also a great challenge that gives you a lot of energy. It is a wonderful feeling to achieve great results together with your team, that put smiles on the faces of your customers.
Tamara de Jong is Product Owner at Dysel and in that role responsible for the development of the software. She gathers ideas, decides the roadmap, sets priorities and keep track of the progress.