Giving back: Considerations for a new Product Owner

Following on from my previous post (Considerations for a new Scrum Master) this blog aims to help those just starting out as a Product Owner.

Like my previous blog – the following items are in no particular order of preference.

The aim is to outline some of the key aspects that are probably worthwhile you considering as you get started on your Product Owner journey.  

  • Know your product
    • Make sure you know just what your product is, what problem(s) you are trying to solve and for whom
      • A product is a vehicle to deliver value. It has a clear boundary, known stakeholders, well-defined users or customers. A product could be a service, a physical product, or something more abstract.” [The Scrum Guide 2020]
  • Generate a Business Model
    • Take time to explore something like the Business Model Canvas or the Lean Canvas in order to try and ensure that others around you begin to understand your product and its unique value propositions
  • Create and share your Product Vision
    • Your product vision should inspire those that are working towards achieving that long term goal
    • Keep it short, focussed and to the point – this will help others understand and remember it
    • Explore some of the many online templates available to help get you going
    • Pull in others to help you create your product vision – don’t feel that you have to do this alone
    • Aim to communicate and share your product vision at every opportunity that you have (as a minimum think about the core Scrum events)
  • Create a Product Goal
    • This should be an intermediate goal acting as a step towards your longer term product vision
    • Make sure it is measurable otherwise how will you ever truly know that you have achieved it
    • Ensure it is well understood by your Scrum Team(s) and wider organisation
    • Remember that the intent is to achieve or abandon a product goal before then moving onto the next one
  • Start to build your Product Backlog
    • Your active product goal should be in your product backlog but note that not everything in your product backlog has to directly relate to your product goal
    • Get others involved and consider exploring techniques like user story mapping to help get started
  • Identify key stakeholders
    • Consider running a brainstorming activity with everyone that you think would have an opinion in order to build a stakeholder map:
Stakeholder map
  • For the stakeholders that you have identified then consider placing them on a “2X2 power-interest grid” in order to know how best to involve them:
Power Interest Grid
  • Make use of your Scrum Master
    • Remember that Scrum Masters are there to help you as a Product Owner. Ask for their help and support around product backlog management and conversations/collaboration with stakeholders (particularly around facilitation). 
  • Make use of your Developers
    • Try to make sure that you don’t spend all day every day just gathering requirements, uploading them into some web-based tool, adding as much detail as you can and including things like acceptance criteria and then handing such items off to the developers. That’s clearly not a hugely valuable use of your time plus is not enabling true business agility. Get the rest of the Scrum Team involved to take more responsibility around product backlog management and remember that it will always be the shared understanding through conversation and collaboration that is most important.
  • Metrics, metrics, metrics
    • Consider which metrics make sense to measure in your context. Without metrics then how do you know that what you are doing is the right thing? How will you know it’s valuable? How will you know when to try something different?
    • Take a look at Evidence Based Management and begin to understand how the 4 key value areas relate to each other plus explore some of the candidate metrics that you might consider for your product (but remember this is not an exclusive list of all possible metrics).
  • Experiment, experiment, experiment
    • Consider what experiments you might run in order to better understand whether to pivot or persevere
    • Try to adopt the mindset and behaviours of an entrepreneur
  • Focus on shortening the feedback loop
    • Shorter feedback loops accelerate learning. Up until releasing then everything is simply a hypothesis. Remember therefore that you need to release in order to validate and potentially realise value.
  • Continue your Product Owner learning

I hope you find these thoughts useful as you begin on your Product Owner journey.

If you decide that you would like to come along to a Professional Scrum Product Owner class then feel free to reach out to me at paulralton@bagile.co.uk or take a look at our course schedule. We offer both public and private courses to fit your needs.

Also let me know your thoughts on the above….what’s missing….what else would you add for new Product Owners?

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