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When any Agile methodology is used, the role of a Product Owner is undoubtedly the critical one. At the same time, expectations from and definition of this role are blurred even more than those of a Scrum Master and a Scrum team.
Speaking metaphorically, a Scrum team is a powerful (or not so powerful ) car which speed depends on the driver’s (Product Owner’s) experience. Unfortunately, I see many people driving badly and recklessly on the streets as if they had never learned how to drive properly. And the same happens in project management, too.
When preparing for my Agile project management workshops, I always ponder over the best ways of explaining the Product Owner’s role to my audience. Back in 2010 I made a speech at the AgileBaseCamp conference where I summarized my ideas about it. Based on my experience, the Product Owner’s role should ideally lie at the crossing point of these four areas:
- Product management – when we know both business and end users’ wants and needs
- Project management – when we know how to plan and track project execution
- Business analysis – when we know how to get user’s requirements and how to prepare requirements for the team to be understood as fast as possible
- Leadership – when we know how to make others work in synergy, what to focus on and how to motivate the team to achieve success
To be honest, I’ve never met a perfect Product Owner who would possess and equally use skills from all four areas. But that’s not a big deal, as it doesn’t really matter from what area you come to the Product Ownership role. What really matters is the way you learn how to fulfill your current role.
The irony is that project’s success or failure depends on WHO fulfills the Product Owner’s role. And therefore it’s so important for this person to get the right training and understand the tools. The video by Henrik Kniberg basically puts it all in a nutshell.
Although this video does mention Product Vision as an integral element of Product Ownership, it still doesn’t provide full understanding of how it should be created and used. I’m often approached with such questions at my workshops and would therefore like to elaborate more on this.
Description of a Product Vision should not be necessarily long and complex. I personally prefer a format offered by Roman Pichler in his “Agile Product Management with Scrum” book. He basically suggests the following 5 questions should be answered:
- Who will use the Product? (Target audience)
- What user needs does the Product satisfy? (Product benefits)
- What are the critical attributes of the Product’s success? (Areas in which the Product will be used in the most effective way)
- What are the Product’s similarities and differences from the analogues available within the organization and/or on the market?
- How much time and what budget do we have to launch the product?
As you see, the instrument is pretty simple, but very useful at the same time.
At Ciklum Services & Consulting Office we offer a broad range of practical workshops and programs on Agile Project Management, Product Ownership, DevOps etc. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about Ciklum Agile expertise.
No secret that Ciklum’s success on the Eastern European market for software development has been driven by a bunch of Agile evangelists who timely realized that Agile approaches should become the core value of Ciklum Nearshore Own Development Center model.
Daily work with more than 150 clients’ software development teams, 75% of which practice this or that Agile method, has actually enabled us to create the Agile Center of Excellence within Ciklum Consulting Office. It helps our clients to better adapt to changing markets and customer needs, speed up their time to market, align IT and business, achieve better project transparency and predictability, etc.
Over the past few years Ciklum has gained a good track record for being an Agile training company, too. Based on our extensive Agile experience we’ve developed our own learning syllabus and have effectively integrated it into the Agile Injection Program and Product Ownership Program as well as various Discovery Programs (e.g., “Handling Projects the Agile Way”). Today, these programs are being successfully presented across Europe.
However, we were also looking for ways to get our Agile training expertise confirmed and recognized by international Agile ‘think tanks’. And it’s finally happened – Ciklum Consulting Office has recently completed the accreditation process for ICAgile Fundamentals of Agile Certification. It marks an important milestone in our Agile maturity and training quality. And we’re very proud to be the 1st and only ICAgile certified organization in the whole EMEA region!
After completing ICAgile Fundamentals of Agile Certification by Ciklum, our trainees will join the team of ICAgile Certified Professionals – a designation that is perceived in the market as above the ScrumAlliance Certified ScrumMasters. As Certified ICAgile Professionals, our trainees will be able to continue their career, learn additional techniques and gain global recognition as ICAgile Certified Experts. To put it in a nutshell, it’ll serve as a starting point in their path of professional development as Master Agilists.
ICAgile Certification will allow us to provide Ciklum customers with an internationally accepted, accredited and certified Agile training. With Certified ICAgile Professionals on board, they will have more transparent, predictable, adaptable and higher quality IT / software development projects that will eventually result in cost effectiveness, faster time to market, better delivery and better justification of investments in Agile development.
You’re always welcome to contact Agile experts from Ciklum Consulting Office to learn more about our ICAgile Certified training.