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Agile Product Ownership

In agile, delivering value to the customer is of utmost importance and this is achievable by understanding what is important to the customer and how this can be delivered effectively and efficiently by the development team. To be successful, it requires an Agile Product Owner to maximize the value of the product and the work of the development team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, development teams, and individuals.

The Product Owner sets out to do this by developing a product vision that guides the development team in setting goals and exploring how to add business value. The Product Owner is also the sole person accountable for the Product Backlog — a list of the new features, changes to existing features, bug fixes, infrastructure changes or other activities that a team may deliver in order to achieve a specific outcome. Management of the Product Backlog, which is often carried out together with the development team, includes:

  • Clearly expressing Product Backlog items and its values
  • Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions
  • Optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next; and,
  • Ensuring the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed.

The Product Owner through the creation of the product vision will enable the development team to understand why something needs to be developed and delivered. This enables the team to decide what product is developed and how value is delivered. The product provides leadership support by helping the team to build the right things through a balanced implementation of technology and business requirements and building trust within the team.  In addition, the product owner also ensures that the team builds things right through constant communication. The product owner is required to have good business sense in defining problems correctly, thus allowing the development team to find and build solutions that address the business problems to be resolved.

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