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Scrum Tutorial

Scrum is a framework designed to help the team in order to develop complex products, scrum determines three important roles- product owner, scrum master, and team member.The product owner is responsible for the product that is to be developed. Scrum master guides the team in each and every process and makes sure that the process is carried out based on the Scrum framework. Development team takes part in determining how to deliver what the product owner has asked for. Product owner: DefinitionThe product owner is a scrum development role for a person who describes the business or user community and is responsible for working with the user group to decide the features to be included under the final product.Role of a product ownerThe product owner is the bloodline of a product and the epicenter of product leadership. He owns an authority responsible for deciding the kind of features and functionality to build and the order in which to build them. He also deals in delivering a clear vision to the team.  As a product owner, he holds all the responsibility for the overall success of the solution being developed or maintained. No matter if the focus is on an external product or an internal application. The product owner still has the obligation to check whether the most possible work which includes technically focused work is always performed. To ensure that what the team builds as per the requirement, product owner collaborates with scrum master and the development team.The product owner is responsible for managing the product backlog, it includes: Expressing product backlog items.Ordering the items in the product backlog in order to achieve the best goals and missions.Progressing the value of the work done by the development team.Making sure that product backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all and defines the upcoming task of a scrum team.Assuring whether the development team understands items in the product backlog to the level expected.These also can be the core competencies of a product owner. A product owner is a single person and not a committee. He takes parts in representing the desires of a committee in the product backlog, those who are willing to change a product backlog item’s priority must address the product owner.A product owner will be successful only when the whole organization respects his decisions. His decision is involved in the content and ordering of the product backlog.Responsibilities of product owner:1. Manage economicsThe product owner is responsible for ensuring that good economic decisions are continuously being made at three different levels say- release, sprint, and product backlog levels.2. Groom the product backlogThe product owner oversees the grooming of the product backlog, which includes creating and refining, estimating, and prioritizing product backlog items (see Chapter 6). The product owner doesn’t personally perform all of the grooming work. For example, he might not write all of the product backlog items; others might contribute them. The product owner also doesn’t estimate the items (the development team does that) but is available for questions and clarification during estimation. The product owner is, however, ultimately responsible for making sure that the grooming activities take place in a way that promotes the smooth flow of delivered value.3. Participate in planningThe product owner is a key participant in the portfolio-, product-, release-, and sprint-planning activities. During portfolio planning, the product owner works with internal stakeholders (perhaps an approval committee or governance board) to position the product correctly in the portfolio backlog and to determine when to start and end product development. During product planning, the product owner works with the stakeholders to envision the product. During release planning, the product owner works with the stakeholders and the team to define the content of the next release. During sprint planning, the product owner works with the development team to define a sprint goal. He also provides valuable input that enables the development team to select a set of product backlog items that the team can realistically deliver by the end of the sprint.4. Collaborate with the development teamThe product owner must closely collaborate with the development team on a frequent basis. The product owner is an engaged, committed, everyday role. Many organizations just starting to adopt Scrum fail to foster adequate product owner engagement with the development team, delaying essential feedback and substantially reducing the value of that feedback when it does occur. 5. Collaborate with the stakeholdersThe product owner is the single voice of the entire stakeholder community, internal and external. Internal stakeholders can include business system owners, executive management, program management, marketing, and sales. External stakeholders can include customers, users, partners, regulatory bodies, and others. The product owner must work closely with the entire stakeholder community to gather input and synthesize a coherent vision to guide product development. If the product owner becomes overwhelmed and spreads himself too thin, it will be difficult for him to collaborate with both the development team and the stakeholders at the required level. In some circumstances the workload may be more than one person can reasonably perform, in which case the product owner may enlist the assistance of others to help fulfill the responsibilities of the role. I will address this later when I discuss the concept of a product owner team.Other lists of product owner Responsibilities:Conveys and the vision to the team and leading the team.Prioritizes work based on business value.Product owner negotiates with the team.His duty is to clear the doubts and deliver direction Must resist the temptation to micromanage. Must resist “raiding the team’s spirit.Dare enough to take decisions.Qualities of a Product owner1. Customer delighted  The product owner is not just an administrator, PO should listen what stakeholders want, discover those latent needs that customer or user hasn’t ever imagined. 2. StorytellerAs a product owner, his mission is to think about what will transform the story into a product feature that delights the user. 3. Knowledge broker:The product owner represents the product backlog and the interface between the team and the stakeholders. Covers overall development of the product. 4. Conflict resolver:As a product owner, he has the courage and the capability to engage when things get difficult, he is the one guides team in any situation and monitor the problemsProduct owner as a Leader:A great product owner must have all leadership abilities to handle a team well and be willing to work on improving, develop and grow. Product owner has various leadership qualities such as:1. Understanding the team:Product owner has a responsibility to understand the capacity of a team along with understandings of the following:What is their average velocity Sprint-over-Sprint?Who are the strongest team members?Who are the technical and thought leaders?Who are the weakest team members? In what areas (technically and softer skills)?From a complementary skills perspective, what are the teams overall strengths and gaps?What do they ‘like’ to do vs. not like to do?And finally, what motivates the individuals and the team as a whole?2. Encouraging transparencyTransparency includes sharing team’s activity with stakeholders regarding a natural course of project events but not specialized status reports, but by communicating with them on a real-time basis. Part of transparency is sharing your team’s activity with your stakeholders as a natural course of project events. Not via specialized status reports, but by communicating with them on a real-time basis, for example:Asking the team to have a look around the team’s work area reviewing visible backlogs, plans, burn-down charts, etc.Inviting the team members to attend daily stand-ups to have a discussion on the current status and team efforts, progressInviting them to sprint planning or backlog grooming and estimation meetings. Ensuring whether the team is included in sprint reviews as possible.3. Championing your team:A great product owner is an advocate for the team, this doesn’t come for free, it needs effort to learn about others, understand, and grow to trust one another.4. Setting leadership:Four areas explain the solid leadership quality of a product owner:Taking on workKeeping it in the familyChallenge your team You partnerThe product owner also comes across few challenges like:Multiple constituenciesLimited capacityLack of trust/confidence.Having a superior product owner is a boon for the team, he takes care of the project and keeps his head high and works through each and every challenge help in delivering a high-quality product.
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Scrum Tutorial

Product Owner

Product Owner

Scrum is a framework designed to help the team in order to develop complex products, scrum determines three important roles- product owner, scrum master, and team member.

The product owner is responsible for the product that is to be developed. Scrum master guides the team in each and every process and makes sure that the process is carried out based on the Scrum framework. Development team takes part in determining how to deliver what the product owner has asked for. 

Product owner: Definition

The product owner is a scrum development role for a person who describes the business or user community and is responsible for working with the user group to decide the features to be included under the final product.

Role of a product owner

The product owner is the bloodline of a product and the epicenter of product leadership. He owns an authority responsible for deciding the kind of features and functionality to build and the order in which to build them. He also deals in delivering a clear vision to the team.  

As a product owner, he holds all the responsibility for the overall success of the solution being developed or maintained. No matter if the focus is on an external product or an internal application. The product owner still has the obligation to check whether the most possible work which includes technically focused work is always performed. To ensure that what the team builds as per the requirement, product owner collaborates with scrum master and the development team.

The product owner is responsible for managing the product backlog, it includes: 

  • Expressing product backlog items.
  • Ordering the items in the product backlog in order to achieve the best goals and missions.
  • Progressing the value of the work done by the development team.
  • Making sure that product backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all and defines the upcoming task of a scrum team.
  • Assuring whether the development team understands items in the product backlog to the level expected.

These also can be the core competencies of a product owner. 

A product owner is a single person and not a committee. He takes parts in representing the desires of a committee in the product backlog, those who are willing to change a product backlog item’s priority must address the product owner.

A product owner will be successful only when the whole organization respects his decisions. His decision is involved in the content and ordering of the product backlog.

Responsibilities of product owner:

1. Manage economics

The product owner is responsible for ensuring that good economic decisions are continuously being made at three different levels say- release, sprint, and product backlog levels.

2. Groom the product backlog

The product owner oversees the grooming of the product backlog, which includes creating and refining, estimating, and prioritizing product backlog items (see Chapter 6). The product owner doesn’t personally perform all of the grooming work. For example, he might not write all of the product backlog items; others might contribute them. The product owner also doesn’t estimate the items (the development team does that) but is available for questions and clarification during estimation. The product owner is, however, ultimately responsible for making sure that the grooming activities take place in a way that promotes the smooth flow of delivered value.

3. Participate in planning

The product owner is a key participant in the portfolio-, product-, release-, and sprint-planning activities. During portfolio planning, the product owner works with internal stakeholders (perhaps an approval committee or governance board) to position the product correctly in the portfolio backlog and to determine when to start and end product development. During product planning, the product owner works with the stakeholders to envision the product. During release planning, the product owner works with the stakeholders and the team to define the content of the next release. During sprint planning, the product owner works with the development team to define a sprint goal. He also provides valuable input that enables the development team to select a set of product backlog items that the team can realistically deliver by the end of the sprint.

4. Collaborate with the development team

The product owner must closely collaborate with the development team on a frequent basis. The product owner is an engaged, committed, everyday role. Many organizations just starting to adopt Scrum fail to foster adequate product owner engagement with the development team, delaying essential feedback and substantially reducing the value of that feedback when it does occur. 

5. Collaborate with the stakeholders

The product owner is the single voice of the entire stakeholder community, internal and external. Internal stakeholders can include business system owners, executive management, program management, marketing, and sales. External stakeholders can include customers, users, partners, regulatory bodies, and others. The product owner must work closely with the entire stakeholder community to gather input and synthesize a coherent vision to guide product development. If the product owner becomes overwhelmed and spreads himself too thin, it will be difficult for him to collaborate with both the development team and the stakeholders at the required level. In some circumstances the workload may be more than one person can reasonably perform, in which case the product owner may enlist the assistance of others to help fulfill the responsibilities of the role. I will address this later when I discuss the concept of a product owner team.

Other lists of product owner Responsibilities:

  • Conveys and the vision to the team and leading the team.
  • Prioritizes work based on business value.
  • Product owner negotiates with the team.
  • His duty is to clear the doubts and deliver direction
  •  Must resist the temptation to micromanage.
  •  Must resist “raiding the team’s spirit.
  • Dare enough to take decisions.

Qualities of a Product owner

1. Customer delighted  

The product owner is not just an administrator, PO should listen what stakeholders want, discover those latent needs that customer or user hasn’t ever imagined.

 2. Storyteller

As a product owner, his mission is to think about what will transform the story into a product feature that delights the user. 

3. Knowledge broker:

The product owner represents the product backlog and the interface between the team and the stakeholders. Covers overall development of the product.

 4. Conflict resolver:

As a product owner, he has the courage and the capability to engage when things get difficult, he is the one guides team in any situation and monitor the problems

Product owner as a Leader:

A great product owner must have all leadership abilities to handle a team well and be willing to work on improving, develop and grow. Product owner has various leadership qualities such as:

1. Understanding the team:

Product owner has a responsibility to understand the capacity of a team along with understandings of the following:

  • What is their average velocity Sprint-over-Sprint?
  • Who are the strongest team members?
  • Who are the technical and thought leaders?
  • Who are the weakest team members? In what areas (technically and softer skills)?
  • From a complementary skills perspective, what are the teams overall strengths and gaps?
  • What do they ‘like’ to do vs. not like to do?
  • And finally, what motivates the individuals and the team as a whole?

2. Encouraging transparency

Transparency includes sharing team’s activity with stakeholders regarding a natural course of project events but not specialized status reports, but by communicating with them on a real-time basis. 

Part of transparency is sharing your team’s activity with your stakeholders as a natural course of project events. Not via specialized status reports, but by communicating with them on a real-time basis, for example:

  • Asking the team to have a look around the team’s work area reviewing visible backlogs, plans, burn-down charts, etc.
  • Inviting the team members to attend daily stand-ups to have a discussion on the current status and team efforts, progress
  • Inviting them to sprint planning or backlog grooming and estimation meetings. 
  • Ensuring whether the team is included in sprint reviews as possible.

3. Championing your team:

A great product owner is an advocate for the team, this doesn’t come for free, it needs effort to learn about others, understand, and grow to trust one another.

4. Setting leadership:

Four areas explain the solid leadership quality of a product owner:

  • Taking on work
  • Keeping it in the family
  • Challenge your team 
  • You partner

The product owner also comes across few challenges like:

  1. Multiple constituencies
  2. Limited capacity
  3. Lack of trust/confidence.

Having a superior product owner is a boon for the team, he takes care of the project and keeps his head high and works through each and every challenge help in delivering a high-quality product.

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