Hello everyone and welcome back to the Cognixia podcast. Every week, we come together to discuss something new and interesting from the world of emerging digital technologies, hoping to inspire our listeners to learn something new and move ahead in their careers. We have been around for over a year now, and we are very thankful to all our listeners for all the love and support they have given us.
In today’s episode, we touch upon a truly timeless subject – Agile & Scrum.
Before we get to the key element of today’s topic, let us quickly brush up on what Agile and Scrum are, shall we?
First, let us understand what is Agile. Agile is the ability to create and respond to change. Agile represents adaptiveness and responsiveness to change. We particularly like what McKinsey says about Agile. It says, “Agile is a way of working that seeks to harness the inevitability of change rather than resist it.”
Now, let us see what is Scrum. Scrum is an Agile framework for project management and software development. It is a highly effective framework for the efficient delivery of products and services. The concept of Scrum is founded on the idea of iterative and incremental development.
So, what is it that we are going to talk about today?
Today, we talk about who should be a Product Owner. People talk a lot about Scrum Masters and their role, but today we talk about another very important role in Scrum – the Scrum Product Owner.
In Scrum Methodology, the Scrum Product Owner is a stakeholder with a deep understanding of the product as well as the market. A Scrum Product Owner is responsible for the product backlog. A product backlog is a list of features and requirements for the product. The Scrum Product Owner ensures the product backlog is complete, accurate, and appropriately prioritized. Their role also involves working with the development teams to ensure that the items in the product backlog are delivered appropriately to meet user and customer needs.
Scrum Product Owners need to have a solid understanding of the users, the marketplace, the competitors, and even the trends.
According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Product Owner is responsible for the value of the product resulting from the work of the development team. The Scrum Product Owner also actively works on prioritizing the work during sprint planning meetings while also motivating the team with well-defined goals, responding to any questions anybody in or outside the team might have, etc.
Now, we have a fair idea of who is a Scrum Product Owner and what they usually do. But, there is an even more important question to address – What makes a good Scrum Product Owner?
To give it to you straight up, a Scrum Product Owner is someone who makes the final decisions about the features that will be offered by a product. They need to be very good business analysts. They need to have a very strong understanding of the business strategy and objectives. They are the ones who keep the development teams in line with the company’s vision and business. Additionally, and very importantly, they must be excellent communicators. They must be constantly communicating with internal and external stakeholders, as well as with the team members, so they can’t afford to have a communication gap or any drop in communications.
Apart from this, a good Scrum Product Owner would need to have some other important skills. Now, we know we’ve said the word important enough times, and you might be wondering how come everything is important, but well, it is true. A Scrum Product Owner must be good at multiple things, and all of that we mentioned are important. So, like we were saying, some of the other things scrum Product Owners need to be really good at would be:
- One, teamwork
- Two, releasing new products or improvements
- Three, meeting business objectives
- Four, subject matter expertise in the particular product or market they are functioning in
- Four, influencing and managing cross-functional teams
So, now, you know how spread out the role of a Scrum Product Owner is. Also, if you are beginning to wonder how the role of a Scrum Product Owner is different from the role of a Scrum Master, fret not, we are going to answer that too.
While both Scrum Master and Scrum Product Owners play very important roles in an Agile environment. However, they work together closely. The Scrum Master is the leader of the Agile team and they support the Scrum Product Owner by sharing updates with team members and employees. In contrast, the Scrum Product Owner manages the product backlog while ensuring the company derives maximum value from the product.
A Scrum Master serves the Scrum Product Owner in multiple ways, such as:
- Ensuring everybody understands the goals, the scope of the project, and the domain of the product
- Finding and defining techniques for effective product backlog management
- Enabling the Scrum team to see the need for having clear & concise product backlogs
- Understanding and managing the product planning process in an empirical environment
- Working with the Scrum Product Owner to ensure that the latter understands how to organize the product backlog to ensure that maximum value can be derived
- Understanding and practicing agility across the board
- Facilitating and organizing Scrum events as required
A Scrum Master has to implement the Scrum approach working in tandem with the development and engineering teams.
A Scrum Product Owner has to plan and prioritize work for the Scrum teams by working behind the scenes with both internal as well as external stakeholders for creating a thorough product roadmap. They are required to interview customers to understand the requirement, review the product feedback they receive from the stakeholders, analyze the market trends and what could be expected in the future, as well as selling the product vision to the senior management and seek their approval.
To put this all in a nutshell, a Scrum Product Owner has to wear multiple hats and perform a very wide range of tasks to ensure that the Scrum processes keep running smoothly and that desired outcomes can be achieved.
With that, we come to the end of this week’s podcast episode. We hope you enjoyed listening to us. If you would like to explore some Scrum and Agile courses, we are currently taking enrollments for the live online instructor-led course for the Certified Scrum Master training and certification, so visit our website and get going. You can talk to us there via the chat function and our reps will answer all your questions immediately.
We will be back again next week with another interesting and insightful episode of the Cognixia podcast. Until next week then!