The Product Owner – Hidden Champion in the Scrum Team?

In agile product development, the product owner (PO) is one of the three key figures in the scrum team. He is responsible for the delivery of the product, ensures smooth process management with his methods and is supported in the development team by the scrum master. In contrast to the scrum master, the PO often stands in the background – also because of the supposed similarity to the role of the project leader. The project manager is responsible for achieving the project goals, while the product owner represents the interests of the customer as well as their requirements and expectations for the product.

[bu:st] defines: The 4 core elements of product success

The product owner is therefore responsible for stakeholder management and coordinates with the customer at regular intervals whether the product meets his expectations. This creates the basis of the product backlog that can be adapted continuously. In addition, the PO is the link between scrum team and internal interfaces, locating the agile working model and taking care of the communication. At [bu:st], the PO is also responsible for adhering to the agile roadmap to ensure a high product quality.

However, the product success and the return on investment (ROI) depend on many other PO skills and factors. We at [buːst] have identified the most important four core elements and discussed them in more detail below.

# 1: Keep an eye on the product vision

In the development process it can happen that the product vision gets out of focus. That is why it is important to keep an eye on the original objective and the product benefits. This can help to prevent ambiguity and to increase development efficiency. By taking into account the minimum viable product, the definition of deliverable increments sharpens the goal, leads to transparency and adaptability in order to save valuable development time and to protect the budget.

# 2: An agile mindset and hands-on mentality

In order to clarify the role model function of the PO, the [bu:st] scrum masters proactively request the PO´s agreement and commitment regarding the agile framework. This will set the course for successful product development and it will anchor and sharpen the team spirit. For [bu:st] it is especially important that the PO has a strong hands-on mentality and is always available to the scrum team.

# 3: The balance of compromise and assertiveness

The third core element is the balance between the mutual conveyance of interests, the capacity for finding a consensus and the assertiveness in the stakeholder environment. This makes decisions faster and the product development process gets more efficient. In addition, the communication and cooperation capability of the PO strengthens and promotes the cooperation of all stakeholders, which also increases the product’s success.

# 4: A comprehensive systematic thinking and result orientation

The product owner has a strong awareness of networking and interactions within the organization and uses this to avoid friction. In addition, the agile coaches of [bu:st] ensure that agility is integrated into company processes and interfaces, as this is the only way to visualize communication and escalation routes in a result-oriented way.

Curious about more? Our [bu:st] experts for supplier and automotive project management in Munich will be happy to provide further insights into agile product development. Feel free to contact us!

Jacqueline Heim

Expert in agilem Projektmanagement

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