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Lifecycle of Product Owner

A product owner begins his journey by talking to stakeholders and understanding the 3Ws of a product.

- What is the problem that needs to be solved?

- Who is going to be benefited?

- Why is the product developed?

The details of the product that needs to be built is arrived at upon understanding these 3Ws of the product in detail and discussing them with the Dev team.

Stakeholders are people who are going to use/support/ be affected by the system being developed. PO’s main responsibility lies in ensuring stakeholders are happy with the product that’s developed.

Now PO proceeds with putting together a suitable team to start building this idea.

This is where the Architect and Scrum Master come in. A suitable Dev team is put together.

PO discusses the stakeholders needs and adds his innovative ideas to come up with a Product Backlog, which is a collection of high-level user stories.

User stories = PO’s innovations + Stakeholders’ needs

PO starts building a roadmap during Sprint Planning and team works on short releases.

Capacity of the team is measured based on the number of stories released per sprint.

PO is also responsible for Backlog Prioritization. In simple terms, it means PO decides what feature goes into production in the upcoming sprint while what are the features that will take backseat. Let’s look further into the factors that determines this decision. PO needs to know value and size of each story point before making this decision. Time, scope, urgency, complexity, are some other factors. Based on type of project and Product vision available, a suitable method or a combined technique is picked from the following

1. HIPPO method

2. MoSCoW method

3. Complexity Matrix method

4. Walking skeleton method

5. Iron Triangle method

Backlog Grooming sessions are conducted at least once a week. Features which are of higher value and has acceptance criteria is prioritized. Now these sessions are also conducted keeping in mind Capacity and Velocity of Dev team. We do not want to end up overloading the team so PO limits Work in Progress.

PO has this important responsibility of managing expectations of stakeholder while finding ways to mitigate risk and uncertainties. Agile metrics dashboard will help forecast the deliverables at any given time based on velocity of the team. High value user stories are built first and then required features are added in later. PO must be able to identify Knowledge value vs. Customer value and decide at what point the team should start focusing on urgent bugs or a new feature.

A product is never really finished and handing off a product could be tricky.

When the product gets to a point where only maintenance and bug fixing is needed, it’s no longer a product backlog but just a team backlog. So, the team just continues to maintain the old product while working on the new product.

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