In theory, the product owner is one person. But in practice, managing a larger, complex product is usually a shared effort. But how can product ownership be split without resulting in decisions by committee and creating a weak or even inconsistent product? In this post, I discuss different techniques to help you scale the product owner role successfully and I explain when each technique should be applied.
In theory, the product owner’s responsibilities are simple: The individual should maximise the value the product creates according to the Scrum Guide. But what does this mean in practice? In reality, the application of the product owner role varies greatly, as products and organisations differ. But my experience shows that there are two key factors that determine the duties of a product owner: the scope and the depth of ownership. This blog post discusses these two factors to help you apply the role successfully.
Being a successful product manager or product owner requires more than building a product with the right user experience (UX) and features. If the stakeholders don’t support your product, then it will be difficult to achieve success. It is therefore important to engage the right stakeholders and to work with them in the right way. This post discusses a proven technique to analyse stakeholders, the power-interest grid, and it shares my recommendations for engaging with different stakeholder groups in the right way.
The product backlog is a great tool. But using it effectively can be difficult. One of the challenges is to get the level of detail right. An overly detailed backlog is unwieldy and hard to manage. But a product backlog that is too coarse-grained is also not helpful: It provides too little guidance for the development team. This post helps you strike the right balance between too much and too little detail. It shows you how determine the right amount of detail for your product backlog.
Product owners come in different shapes and sizes. That’s only natural: The application of the role varies depending on the product and the company. Being a product owner of a brand-new product in a startup differs from looking after a mature offering in a large enterprise. But there are two common types: big and small product owners. Which one are you? And is your product ownership level right?
Scrum is a popular agile framework for developing a product with the right features and the right technologies. Unfortunately, it does not state the prerequisites for kicking off a Scrum project and for starting the first sprint. As a consequence, I find it not uncommon that product managers and product owners are unsure about the work they should do prior to the first sprint. This post offers a checklist to help you do the right upfront product management work.
The sprint retrospective is the key mechanism in Scrum to improve the way people work. Some product owners believe though that they should not attend the meeting, and if they do then only as guests and not as active participants. But the retrospective does not only benefit the development team and the ScrumMaster; it is also an opportunity for the product owner to learn and improve, as this post explains.
Scrum employs the product demo as its default technique to understand if the right product with the right features is developed. While a product demo can be very effective, it can also be limiting. Like any research and validation technique, demoes have their strengths and weaknesses. This post provides an overview of alternative validation methods so you can choose the one that is best suited for your product.
Working with sprint goals is a powerful practice. But many product owners and teams don’t leverage sprint goals or don’t apply them correctly: Sprint goals often state the stories to be implemented rather than the reason for undertaking the iteration. That’s rather unfortunate: Effective sprint goals serve to test ideas, to deliver features, and to foster teamwork. This post introduces a sprint goal template to help you write powerful sprint goals to build great products.
Keeping a product successful can be tricky: New features have to be developed to ensure that the product stays beneficial and attractive. At the same time, smaller improvements and bug fixes are required to maintain the product. How can this be done? This post shares my answer how to balance innovation and maintenance work.