The Product Owner as Optimizer of Scrum Value

PMI Bangalore India Chapter

Madhavi is a project manager in Secunderabad with experience in in the banking, financial services and insurance industries.

If we look at scrum as a movie, the product owner would be the director. The PO has the vision for the software project’s deliverables and translates that to his or her “crew” by way of user stories. The product owner is not only responsible but also accountable for the targeted business value. The challenge: How can the PO not just be satisfied with what the team delivers, but go that extra mile to optimize business value? This is what I'll explore in the article below.

As the name suggests, the product owner owns the product or outcome. As a lead user of the system, he or she is the visionary to the scrum team. They explain the business requirements by way of crafting user stories, which in turn results in the end product. The PO also possesses a strong understanding of market trends and competition; this information needs to be interlinked to epics, risks and assumptions.

Success with scrum depends on the entire team, not just the product owner. However, just like steering a car, the PO can lead the scrum in attaining optimal business value. Suppose the PO is trying to bring out certain features for a banking application to be used by end customers. With sound knowledge of the domain, the PO would explain:

  • the present challenges in the application due to a lack of such features
  • what additional benefits the features would give to the end …

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