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Who Should Get CSPO® Certified?

In this article you would learn who is a Product Owner, and what are their roles and responsibilities while playing the role of a PO on a Scrum project. You would also learn about the CSPO® certification and its prerequisites, who all can attend the CSPO certification training and why should a PO get CSPO certified.  Who is a Product Owner?A product owner in Scrum is one of the three core roles and responsible for maximizing the value of the products and the work of the Scrum development team. This is a one-person role and is a bridge between the end-user and the development team. On the project, a PO plays different roles such as business strategist, product manager, product designer, market analyst, customer liaising and rarely Scrum Master. He or she has to be well versed with Agile/Scrum methodology.  What are the PO’s roles and responsibilities on a Scrum project? 1. Developing and maintaining a Vision and a product roadmapThe Scrum product owner is the point of contact on the product development team and uses a high-level perspective to define goals and creates a vision for the project. The PO is responsible for communicating with all stakeholders including customers, end-users and the development team to make sure that the goals are clear, and the vision is aligned with business objectives. This ensures that the team maintains a cohesive vision.The PO is also responsible for creating a product roadmap for the Scrum project. This product roadmap is a high-level, strategic visual summary that outlines the vision and direction for the product offering over time and acts as a strategic guide for stakeholders to reference and is also used as an execution plan.2. Ordering and managing the product backlogThe development team’s to-do list and one of the most important responsibilities for a Scrum Product Owner is managing the product backlog throughout the project.  Based on the overall strategy and business objectives the product owners create the list of backlog items and prioritize them. They will also need to map out project dependencies with the required sequence of development. The product backlog is a live document which is continually updated based on evolving project needs throughout development. Because it gets updated frequently, the product owner must make it accessible and available to all stakeholders, specifically the development team, to ensure optimized performance and project outcomes. 3. Overseeing development stagesWith the vision, product roadmap and product priorities set, the product owner should spend a significant amount of time overseeing the actual development of the product. They are a key contributor throughout each Sprint event including Sprint Planning, Backlog refinement, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. During the planning stages, the product owner works with end-users to identify high-value items from the Product Backlog so that these items can be considered for the next Sprint or Iteration. At the end of every Sprint they will meet with the team to refine the process, identify areas for improvement and plan for the next sprint. 4. Anticipating and Prioritizing client needsThe Scrum Product Owner will be an expert at judging and anticipating the client’s needs to effectively manage the project and deliver a high-value product which can be used by everyone in the organization.5. Acting as primary liaisonThe product owner acts a link and is the primary communicator between the end-users and the development teams. They must be expert communicators, ensuring there’s buy-in from end-users on all major decisions strategically with clear instructions on deliverables for the developers.  6. Evaluating product progress at each iterationThe product owner is held accountable for each stage of the development process and the final product. They also take a prominent role in inspecting and evaluating product progress through each Sprint. The product owner is the one who makes the judgment call on the team's performance and decides if the team need to go back to the drawing board or they can move on to the next Sprint or next steps. A Product Owner is also responsible for defining high-level stories and should possess good decision-making and interpersonal skills while working on a Scrum project. What is a CSPO® certification?  CSPO stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. It is an industry recognized certification for Product Owners who are already in the role of a Product Owner, or novices who would like to understand the insights of a Product Owner role.  After attending the training, each attendee would have the necessary knowledge to play the role of a PO on any Scrum project.  What are the pre-requisites to become a CSPO®? There are no specific prerequisites to attend a CSPO certification training course.Who can attend the CSPO® training? CSPO training can be attended by anybody who is knowledgeable and confident about the product under consideration, who is very good in communication, who is a good listener, who is focused on product development and who can quickly resolve issues and take decisions. Before selecting a person to attend the CSPO training and later play the role of a Product Owner it is always advisable to estimate the time and effort required for the Product Owner role. The estimates will come handy when the person who wishes to play the role is made aware of the period of time for which they are required to be available for the Scrum project. Suggested target audience could be – Business Analyst: Business Analysts are better suited to play the role of a Product Owner as they have the required knowledge on how to handle the business requirements and supplement it with business analysis. They play a critical role in decision-making during business analysis. Project Manager or Manager:  Project Manager is another role that is available to a Product Owner. Project Managers are involved in project planning and executing of a project i.e. throughout the lifecycle of a project right from ideation to closure. Hence, they would be more effective on a Scrum project to play the role of Product Owner.  In many organizations the Business Analyst also plays the role of Project Manager. It is for this reason that many organizations prefer Project Managers to play the role of a Product Owner. If these Project Managers have a Certified ScrumMaster certification then it would add value. Product Manager: Product Managers make very good Product Owners, as they have all the necessary knowledge about the product requirements based on strategic requirements and current market trends. If the Product Manager has Business Analysis experience, then this can add tremendous value to the Scrum project if he or she is appointed to play the role of a Product Owner. Functional Managers: Many organizations are structured by Functions and the Functional Managers report to the CEO. Functional Managers from any function would also be ideal to play the role of a Product Owner as they already have the necessary knowledge about the product, strategy and market trends. They understand the business requirements and they have been working with other functions during business as usual. They would also add value to the Product Owner role. Chief Executive Officer (CEO): CEOs can be very good Product Owners as they would be having first-hand and complete information about the product, strategy and market trends. The CEO’s experience would be an asset to the Scrum project as they would be constantly thinking about how to achieve a high return on investment, how to engage the customers throughout the Scrum project, etc. All these qualities are already part of the CEO’s roles and responsibilities.  Every individual needs to decide, if they think certifications add value to their career. Certifications are proof of their achievement. Ultimately, it would be their expertise on the job, along with hands-on experience to play the role that matters for career advancement. Individuals can take up a Product Owner certification  To gain knowledge and understanding of the role To refresh their knowledge and get to know the responsibilities and best practices employed by a Product Owner. Why should a PO get certified?    The industry is looking out for Certified Product Owners who can take up the role of a Product Owner in their organizations. The certification is a proof of your achievement, the knowledge you have gained and demonstrates that you would be able to work effectively throughout the Scrum project.  If you are a CSPO certified, your potential employers will be assured that you are the right person for handling the job and the project is in the safe hands.  How can you get CSPO certification?  Attend a live online or classroom course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC) in order to get the necessary knowledge and skills to be a successful PO.   Please note, classroom course offers an added value as a lot of doubts can get cleared during the training sessions. If you have attended a training conducted by a Scrum Alliance CST, then on successfully completing the course, you will be asked to accept the CSPO License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.ConclusionIn this article you learnt who is a Product Owner, and the roles and responsibilities of a PO on a Scrum project. You understood more about CSPO certification and its prerequisites and why a PO should get CSPO certified. You also got to know who all can attend and benefit from the CSPO training.    

Who Should Get CSPO® Certified?

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Who Should Get CSPO® Certified?

In this article you would learn who is a Product Owner, and what are their roles and responsibilities while playing the role of a PO on a Scrum project. You would also learn about the CSPO® certification and its prerequisites, who all can attend the CSPO certification training and why should a PO get CSPO certified.  

Who is a Product Owner?

A product owner in Scrum is one of the three core roles and responsible for maximizing the value of the products and the work of the Scrum development team. This is a one-person role and is a bridge between the end-user and the development team. On the project, a PO plays different roles such as business strategist, product manager, product designer, market analyst, customer liaising and rarely Scrum Master. He or she has to be well versed with Agile/Scrum methodology.  

What are the PO’s roles and responsibilities on a Scrum project? 

1. Developing and maintaining a Vision and a product roadmap

The Scrum product owner is the point of contact on the product development team and uses a high-level perspective to define goals and creates a vision for the project. The PO is responsible for communicating with all stakeholders including customers, end-users and the development team to make sure that the goals are clear, and the vision is aligned with business objectives. This ensures that the team maintains a cohesive vision.

The PO is also responsible for creating a product roadmap for the Scrum project. This product roadmap is a high-level, strategic visual summary that outlines the vision and direction for the product offering over time and acts as a strategic guide for stakeholders to reference and is also used as an execution plan.

2. Ordering and managing the product backlog

The development team’s to-do list and one of the most important responsibilities for a Scrum Product Owner is managing the product backlog throughout the project 

Based on the overall strategy and business objectives the product owners create the list of backlog items and prioritize them. They will also need to map out project dependencies with the required sequence of development. 

The product backlog is a live document which is continually updated based on evolving project needs throughout development. Because it gets updated frequently, the product owner must make it accessible and available to all stakeholders, specifically the development team, to ensure optimized performance and project outcomes. 

3. Overseeing development stages

With the vision, product roadmap and product priorities set, the product owner should spend a significant amount of time overseeing the actual development of the product. They are a key contributor throughout each Sprint event including Sprint Planning, Backlog refinement, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. 

During the planning stages, the product owner works with end-users to identify high-value items from the Product Backlog so that these items can be considered for the next Sprint or Iteration. At the end of every Sprint they will meet with the team to refine the process, identify areas for improvement and plan for the next sprint. 

4. Anticipating and Prioritizing client needs

The Scrum Product Owner will be an expert at judging and anticipating the client’s needs to effectively manage the project and deliver a high-value product which can be used by everyone in the organization.

5. Acting as primary liaison

The product owner acts a link and is the primary communicator between the end-users and the development teams. They must be expert communicators, ensuring there’s buy-in from end-users on all major decisions strategically with clear instructions on deliverables for the developers.  

6. Evaluating product progress at each iteration

The product owner is held accountable for each stage of the development process and the final product. They also take a prominent role in inspecting and evaluating product progress through each Sprint. The product owner is the one who makes the judgment call on the team's performance and decides if the team need to go back to the drawing board or they can move on to the next Sprint or next steps. 

A Product Owner is also responsible for defining high-level stories and should possess good decision-making and interpersonal skills while working on a Scrum project. 

What is a CSPO® certification?  

CSPO stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. It is an industry recognized certification for Product Owners who are already in the role of a Product Owner, or novices who would like to understand the insights of a Product Owner role.  

After attending the training, each attendee would have the necessary knowledge to play the role of a PO on any Scrum project 

What are the pre-requisites to become a CSPO®? 

There are no specific prerequisites to attend a CSPO certification training course.

Who can attend the CSPO® training? 

CSPO training can be attended by anybody who is knowledgeable and confident about the product under consideration, who is very good in communicationwho is a good listener, who is focused on product development and who can quickly resolve issues and take decisions. 

Before selecting a person to attend the CSPO training and later play the role of a Product Owner it is always advisable to estimate the time and effort required for the Product Owner role. The estimates will come handy when the person who wishes to play the role is made aware of the period of time for which they are required to be available for the Scrum project. 

Suggested target audience could be  

  1. Business Analyst: Business Analystare better suited to play the role of a Product Owner as they have the required knowledge on how to handle the business requirements and supplement it with business analysis. They play a critical role in decision-making during business analysis. 

  1. Project Manager or Manager Project Manager is another role that is available to a Product Owner. Project Managers are involved in project planning and executing of a project i.e. throughout the lifecycle of a project right from ideation to closureHence, they would be more effective on a Scrum project to play the role of Product Owner.  

In many organizations the Business Analyst also plays the role of Project ManagerIt is for this reason that many organizations prefer Project Managers to play the role of a Product Owner. If these Project Managers have a Certified ScrumMaster certification then it would add value. 

  1. Product Manager: Product Managers make very good Product Owners, as they have all the necessary knowledge about the product requirements based on strategic requirements and current market trends. 

If the Product Manager has Business Analysis experience, then this can add tremendous value to the Scrum project if he or she is appointed to play the role of a Product Owner. 

  1. Functional Managers: Many organizations are structured by Functions and the Functional Managers report to the CEO. Functional Managers from any function would also be ideal to play the role of a Product Owner as they already have the necessary knowledge about the product, strategy and market trends. They understand the business requirements and they have been working with other functions during business as usual. They would also add value to the Product Owner role. 

  1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO): CEOs can be very good Product Owners as they would be having first-hand and complete information about the product, strategy and market trends. The CEO’s experience would be an asset to the Scrum project as they would be constantly thinking about how to achieve a high return on investment, how to engage the customers throughout the Scrum project, etc. All these qualities are already part of the CEOs roles and responsibilities 

Every individual needs to decide, if they think certifications add value to their career. Certifications are proof of their achievement. Ultimately, it would be their expertise on the job, along with hands-on experience to play the role that matters for career advancement. 

Individuals can take up a Product Owner certification  

  • To gain knowledge and understanding of the role 
  • To refresh their knowledge and get to know the responsibilities and best practices employed by a Product Owner. 

Why should a PO get certified?  
 

The industry is looking out for Certified Product Owners who can take up the role of a Product Owner in their organizations. The certification is a proof of your achievement, the knowledge you have gained and demonstrates that you would be able to work effectively throughout the Scrum project.  

If you are a CSPO certified, your potential employers will be assured that you are the right person for handling the job and the project is in the safe hands.  

How can you get CSPO certification?  

Attend a live online or classroom course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC) in order to get the necessary knowledge and skills to be a successful PO.  

Please note, classroom course offers an added value as a lot of doubts can get cleared during the training sessions. If you have attended a training conducted by a Scrum Alliance CST, then on successfully completing the course, you will be asked to accept the CSPO License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.

Conclusion

In this article you learnt who is a Product Owner, and the roles and responsibilities of a PO on a Scrum project. You understood more about CSPO certification and its prerequisites and why a PO should get CSPO certified. You also got to know who all can attend and benefit from the CSPO training.    

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
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It is particularly most beneficial for Scrum Master, Team members and managers, that is, those people who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum.Job opportunities after Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM): After being a certified Professional Scrum Master, the candidate can apply for various fields, to name a few:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterProduct OwnerCoachMentorCost: Starts from  $150.Average Salary: $100,500CertificationProfessional Scrum Master Training (PSM)Accreditation BodyScrum.orgPrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 80 questions within an hour.Passing score: 80 per cent.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner for big organisations.Average Salary$100,500Cost of Certification$1505. SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)It is a two-day course, during which the attendees gain a proper understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in the context of SAFe enterprise while at the same time, prepare them to plan and execute the Program Increment(PI) successfully. PI is an enabler of alignment for all the levels of a SAFe organisation, which includes the facilitation of Scrum in the enterprise and executing the Iteration Planning.This course will validate that you can now perform the role of a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment, which will help you increase your value to organisations and teams which are implementing SAFe.Accreditation Body: Scaled Agile.Prerequisites:Regardless of experience, this course can be attended by anyone. But it is recommended to have the following prerequisites for the ones who intend to take the SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:They should be familiar with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Who can take up this certification?This course can be taken up by Scrum Master who are new to this and need to perform the role. While this course can also be taken up by the existing Scrum Masters who wish to know about their role as a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment.Other than them, Team leads who wish to understand the roles of Scrum Master can also take up this course.Job opportunities after SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM): Based on the candidates' experience, the candidate can apply for various roles. To name a few:Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerCost: The first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Average Salary: $114,546CertificationSAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)Accreditation BodyScaled AgilePrerequisitesFamiliarity with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 45 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; out of which 33 should be answered correctly.Career PathScrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerAverage Salary$114,546Cost of CertificationThe first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Renewal Cost$100; Every one year from the date of certification earned.6. Scrum Master Certified (SMC)The professionals who are certified as Scrum Master Certified (SMC) ensure that the Scrum team is working in an environment which helps them in completing their project successfully. The Scrum Master has the responsibility to ensure that the Scrum process is being followed. He guides the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.Accreditation Body: SCRUMstudyPrerequisites:There are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Who can take up this certification?This course is apt for professionals who are involved in product delivery using the Scrum Framework. It is particularly most beneficial for Scrum Master, Team members and managers, that is, those people who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum.Job opportunities after Scrum Master Certified (SMC): After completion of the course, you can opt for the following job opportunities:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerCost: $450 USDAverage Salary: The average salary for a Scrum Master Certified professional ranges between $100,00 to $130,00 USD.CertificationScrum Master Certified (SMC)Accreditation BodySCRUMstudyPrerequisitesThere are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 100 questions within a duration of two hours.Career PathScrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$450 USDRenewal CostEarn 40 recertification credits every three years.7. Agile Scrum Master (ASM)The Agile Scrum Master certification combines scrum practices and agile methodologies with practical assignments. It tests the ability of the professional that is required to facilitate, enable and coach a cross-functional Scrum Team as a Scrum Master.Accreditation Body: Exin.Prerequisites: You are required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Who can take up this certification?This certification aims the managerial professionals who are in the fields of IT project management, business management, software development, and IT service management.Job opportunities after Agile Scrum Master (ASM): The professional can look forward to the following job opportunities after completing the Agile Scrum Master course:Scrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerCost: $260 USDAverage Salary: The average salary of an Agile Scrum Master ranges between $100,00 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationAgile Scrum Master (ASM)Accreditation BodyEXINPrerequisitesThe candidate is required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 40 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; Pass mark being 65%.Career PathScrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$260 USDWhat is Scrum?Scrum is a lightweight framework with the help of which people can address complex problems to deliver projects of the highest possible value. It is primarily used for software development processes by using iterative and incremental practices to work towards a well-defined goal.It is a subset of Agile as it follows the Agile Manifesto, which expresses a set of values and principles to help make decisions on how to develop higher-quality software in a quicker and better manner. Organisations have benefitted by Agile Scrum process as:It increases the productivity of the team.It increases the quality of deliverable products.Helps in getting a better grip of the project schedule.It provides a better estimate while less time is spent on creating themIt keeps the stakeholders and customers satisfied.How are Scrum and Agile related Scrum and Agile are related, but distinctly. Agile is a methodology that describes a set of guiding principles to build software through iterative development, which is described in the Agile Manifesto.Scrum follows a set of rules while practising agile software development. Even though these two models look similar and function in a similar manner, there are differences as well. Scrum aims for a product team with firm rules and guidelines. It is an incremental and iterative development methodology of Agile, that is, it can be said that it is an agile framework for developing software. Scrum does not state any detailed description or template of the process of software development, unlike many other software development methodologies. It states the desired outcome that is required, leaving it on the agile scrum team to determine the solutions to the problems that they are facing or will come across. It may be used for software maintenance projects or software development. Scrum increases the flexibility and speed of the process of product development. Organisations which have switched to agile processes like Scrum have experienced many benefits like higher stakeholder satisfaction, higher productivity, etc. The benefits experienced are further discussed in detail.Scrum Certifying Accreditation BodiesThe following is a list of a few Scrum Certifying Bodies.Scrum AllianceScrum.orgScaled AgileAPM Group InternationalSCRUMstudy1. Scrum Alliance: Scrum Alliance was founded in the year 2011. Being a globally renowned organisation, it supports Scrum adoption, research and networking, focusing on organisational transformations. It is the largest, most established organisation for Agile membership and certification that has trained more than 750,000 professionals worldwide.2. Scrum.org:Scrum.org provides training, assessments and certifications based on the principles of Scrum and Agile manifesto in order to improve software delivery. They empower people and organisations all around the world to achieve agility through Scrum. The global organisation was found in the year 2009 by Ken Schwaber.3. Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI): Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI) is the leading provider of SAFe® courses. Being a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile, it uplifts the career growth of an individual as it offers various role-based courses and certifications.4. SCRUMstudy: SCRUMstudy is a globally acknowledged accreditation body for Agile and Scrum certifications. It has a large global partner network of ATPs, Authorized Training Providers, delivering training and certifications. The SBOK™ Guide has been authored by the SCRUMstudy, which is a comprehensive guide to deliver projects successfully using Scrum.5. EXIN: EXIN offers professionals certifications in a wide range of exams in the field of IT qualifications. It innovates in a continuous manner by developing exams in-house. They developed exams are both independent and with partners, which is done in order to enhance its portfolio as well as broaden the scope of the exams that are offered.Summary:Various accreditation bodies provide various Scrum Certifications around the globe. The main objective behind all the Scrum Certifications being making of a Scrum Master which will help his/her organisation achieve the goals following the Scrum framework. Choose the best certification course according to your requirements and make the best out of it!
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Top-paying Scrum Master Certifications to Consider...

Scrum Certification is a course and a series of ex... Read More

Understand the Importance of Having the Product Vision in a Scrum Team

Stories abound of products launched with much fanfare and failing miserably in the market. What does it take to build a software product that sells? Would the best technology, the best architecture and the best brains guarantee a product that will sell?A lot of energy is spent by the Engineering teams on building the product right – bug-free, scalable, reliable and secure. Throughout this journey the teams also need to be confident that they are building the right product – usable (fit for use), serves the purpose (fit for purpose), solves the customer’s problem and delivers value.A popular representation of this relationship is given belowA Product Vision is a well thought through “future state” of the product that serves the customer’s needs as well as furthers the organization’s product strategy. The product vision serves as the “guiding light” that the teams constantly refers, consults and steers towards.This article is about how a good product vision paves the way for scrum teams to build a good product. It is not the only step but definitely one of the first steps to build a product that will sell.Components of a Product Vision  A well thought through and finely articulated Product Vision includes the following components Purpose and Intent – Why are we building the product and what value it brings to the Customer? What problems is the product going to solve for the Customer? Target Market – Who is the Customer(s) / Market Segment that the product is meant for Business Goals – By building this product how are we aligning with the organization’s strategy and goals in the market. Every product offered by an organization should align with the larger goals and strategy so that it fits well with the organization’s product portfolio. Differentiating Factors – How and what features are we offering that is a differentiator in the market and which sets the organization apart from its competitors. Many a product fails to see the light of the day or serve the purpose of the customer if it has failed to justify on any one or more of the above components.  Creating the Product Vision Anyone who is connected to the Product can contribute to the Product Vision. Organizations usually have idea boards and forums to welcome innovative ideas from all employees. But the ownership of defining, communicating and nourishing the product vision lies with the Business Group or Product Management Group. Usually the vision is created through a Workshop involving the right stakeholders who have the expertise to contribute. The stakeholders represent Business, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Support, Training etc.  Various techniques such as Brainstorming, Affinity grouping, Dot Voting can be employed in the workshop to come up with the final Product Vision. Prior to the workshop findings from Market research on target customers, competitors, information on Personas are made available to the participants so that they are well informed and bring the best to the table. Product Vision Formats The Product Vision board as recommended by Roman Pichler, leading Product Management Expert. The Product Vision Board A Simple template first introduced in the book Crossing the Chasm by Management Consultant and author Geoffery More.Communicating the Product Vision  A great Product Vision will not get realized into the final product unless it is communicated well, not just once but multiple times, to all the important stakeholders – the Senior Leadership, the Engineering teams, Sales, Marketing, Documentation, Training and Support. It is the responsibility of the Head of the Business (e.g Director of Product Management) to introduce and explain the Product Vision to the rest of the organization before the product development is started. A Kickstart All-Hands meeting usually happens when a new Product Vision is ready. The road map and strategy for the immediate future (every Quarter/Release) to realize the vision is also shared in this meeting. It is important that all stakeholders who are participating in building the product gets to hear the same information at the same time from the Head of Business. This All-Hands happens at a defined cadence (every Quarter /Release) where the changes to the product vision, strategy and road map for the next quarter /release is communicated. The Heads of Engineering would also present their plans for the Quarter /Release to further the product vision.  Heads guiding the team It should not be an open and shut communication for a day, but the Product Managers and Owners need to constantly refer and draw from the vision when interacting with the Scrum Teams. When requirements are refined into Epics and User Stories and prioritized the Scrum Teams need to be able to relate them to the Vision. Changes in the Product Vision  So is a Product Vision written on stone never to change? No, because that would defy Agile Principles of continuously seeking feedback, embracing and adapting change.  A learning organization has a pulse on the market and actively seeks feedback. It adapts the product vision according to the changing market, competition and customer feedback. It has a constant sense of Urgency to Fail Fast, has the Courage to Pivot when required and Persevere on the right track as part of the Organization culture.  There are stories of many organizations that have imbibed and practiced this culture and succeeded. Significance of Production Vision within the Scrum Teams A journey without a destination sounds exciting but not practical and not always fruitful. R&D engineers would not have any dearth of imagination to build products that are beautiful and perfect. But would these products serve the customer’s needs? Understand the Larger Purpose: Scrum teams need to understand the big picture and the larger purpose of their everyday work – for whom are they building, for what and most importantly why. During Backlog Grooming sessions, the Product owners can act as ambassadors for the Product Vision helping the teams to refine user stories with end goal in mind. The questions to be constantly asked and validated include  “Are we solving the customer problem?” , “Are we adding value?”, “Are we building the right product?” Product Strategy and Vision to Plan your roadmap Contribute in Product Strategy and Roadmap: Scrum teams can contribute effectively to the product strategy and roadmap if they know and understand the product vision.  Understanding the Priorities: Understanding the Product vision helps the team to identify with the priority put forth by the Product Owner. The Product Owner and the teams can make use of the product vision in the Sprint Planning and Backlog refinement meetings to streamline user stories.  Influence in Sprint Execution: Having the product vision in the back of their minds plays an important role in the story writing, refinement, acceptance criteria, coding and testing.  Knowing the customer problems and target market helps teams to build “just enough” and stop from over engineering and manufacturing unwanted imaginary requirements. Unwanted code is a waste that can cause unwanted testing, bugs and needs to be avoided. Knowing the target Customer / market, purpose and the problems that need to be resolved, helps the teams to  Refine and write better Epics and User Stories . Helps to identify the ‘Must Have’ and ‘Good to Have’ Acceptance Criteria. Helps to architect and design better knowing the immediate priority and the upcoming roadmap. Helps to code incorporating enough customization for reuse and extensions in future. Define and formulate the appropriate test scenarios and data Collaboration: Multiple teams come together to build a product. Having a common Product Vision to refer to improves their collaboration and serves as a good point of reference to manage conflicts and dependencies.  Alignment with the Organization’s Goals: There is also another very important piece of information within the Product Vision - How the Product Vision aligns to their organization’s overall strategy. This is definitely of interest to every employee of the organization. An engaged employee always is curious about how the product he is helping to build today fits and aligns with the organization’s goals. The fact that he/she is contributing towards furthering the Organization’s goals does instil a sense of pride and confidence. Adapting to Changes in the Product Vision: The changes to the vision has to be constantly communicated to all the stake holders especially the Scrum teams who are building it. The teams need to also be told why there has been a change in the Product Vision. Only then would they appreciate and embrace the changes. Tips for your Product Vision: Ideas can come in from unlikeliest of places. Inputs should be encouraged and accepted from all stakeholders and funnelled into the Product Vision creation workshop. Prior to the workshop, sufficient Market research has to be conducted to get information on target customer, personas and the competitor landscape. A vision not shared well remains only that and does not become a reality. Communicate at every opportunity – kickoff meetings, through posters and through dedicated ambassadors -Product Owners , Product Managers , Line Managers. Seek feedback and gauge the market continuously to adapt Do not fear to pivot if needed and change course. Failing early and fast is better. Do not try to address all the “How” and “When” in product vision, but the “What” and “Why”. In conclusion, a Product Vision plays a very important role in the working of a Scrum Team providing the larger purpose of what is being built by them everyday. Only through constant communication about the vision and about the changes to it can the Scrum Teams keep relating to the vision and make the vision a reality - a good product that sells. 
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Understand the Importance of Having the Product Vi...

Stories abound of products launched with much fanf... Read More

Struggles of Becoming Agile

    With the ever-shrinking timelines for delivering technical solutions, more and more IT companies are now compelled to shift from traditional delivery models to more Agile delivery approaches. Organizations are expected to quickly make the said transition in terms of their processes, practices, tools, and techniques while being capable of delivering more with an exact number of resources or even less. Transitioning into Agile delivery approaches is no easy task. Organizations and teams tend to struggle to make the necessary changes. So, what are some of the pertinent challenges in transitioning into Agile? Strategic misalignment Consider a plump of baby ducklings swimming in the water following the mother duck. The ducks will follow the mother duck following her cry. The mother duck sets the direction and sets an example by leading the team. If at all the mother duck loses focus the little ducklings go astray. An IT services delivery company shifting to Agile is exactly the same. The strategic objectives of the organization must directly be linked to the tactical decision of doing delivery using Agile approaches. Often what happens is that the C-level executives suddenly hear the latest buzzwords from the industry and blindly try to implement them within the company. If the leaders themselves embrace the principles and values in Agile and then motivate the staff in following the same, then the application of the new approach becomes more fruitful.  I once worked in an organization where the CEO of the company was one of the first individuals to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) from the company. This ensured that the CEO himself understood the terminology and the dynamics in following Scrum and was better able to even onboard customers to get their solutions done using an Agile delivery approach. Receptiveness to change The success of any change depends on how receptive the individuals are for that change. Agile demands teams to move away from being process oriented to being more focused on collaboration, communication, and continuous improvement. Organizations who have been used to running projects in waterfall approach with well-defined plans and with tight processes often find it difficult to move away from their comfort zone.  Agile demands just enough documentation to execute projects and expects teams to figure out things on the go. Teams must be more hands on and be prepared to experiment and be ready to fail.  Clients too need to adapt to these changes by first being onboard to Agile contract types of Time & Material models and be receptive for a continuous definition of requirements and ever-evolving solutions. ‘We’ vs ‘I’ One of the common problems which most of the teams have is with regards to ‘groupthink’ and the ‘dominator’. Teams often tend to go with the ideas of the consenting majority even when an idea given out by one single individual seems most plausible. Similarly, there can be one person in the group who can be dominating and be able to influence the entire team.  Another side of this problem is where teams expect one person to be the superhero and be responsible for taking up a task and completing it all by himself. This is the traditional waterfall approach where the assignee is expected to be the sole owner of a task. Agile begs team members to be different where individuals are expected to pitch in whenever a task is pending or whenever a team member is stuck and be able to provide a solution to take the team forward. Thus, Agile teams are expected to be self-organizing and self-healing. This requirement for change in mindset often leaves new Agile teams scratching their heads for answers. In conclusion, a shift from traditional approaches to Agile requires shifts in the mindsets of both employees as well as the leaders. It is often a matter of getting the basics right and getting the consent of everyone to follow suit. However, this often is the toughest part in transitioning to Agile!!  
Struggles of Becoming Agile

    With the ever-shrinking timelines for ... Read More