Product Owner, an ever-evolving role
The constant rise of cross-functional and product-focused teams leads to a high demand for Product Owners. For most companies which are in the middle of an agile transformation or starting to work according to agile methodologies, the agile Product Owner (PO) is a new role with a new set of skills and competencies.
What is the measure of success for a Product Owner?
In general, a Product Owner is successful when the team ships products customers love to use (or new features and solutions that users love to use). In detail, the degree to which customers love the solution can be assessed with the help of different achievement areas:
- How many new users have been acquired for the company?
- After users have been acquired, do they perform the desired actions?
- Are the newly acquired users engaging with the product?
- Are these people convinced by the value proposition and therefore refer it to others?
- Are users willing to pay for it?
How can the Product Owner help companies?
Especially in larger organizations it is efficient to have a dedicated contact person per product or application, he or she will own it end-to-end. Regardless of whether it is a website, app, part of the customer journey, feature, API or a backend system - the PO role solves the problem of fragmented ownership. It is the go-to-person for all stakeholders and drives the cross-functional development from conception to launch.
The most important thing is to solve problems in ways customers love.
One area in which a Product Owner can help a company immediately is the focus on customer value. One of the role's core responsibilities is to determine the correct order of product backlog items (or priorities to be worked on) and therefore ensure that the team works on the highest value issues for the company's customers.
The underlying hypothesis is that customers in a highly competitive environment make their purchase decision based on the value proposition the product offers them. Thus, the focus on customer value in product development is the basis for growth and customer loyalty.
An area with a longer planning horizon is the creation of a product vision.
All stakeholders are involved in formulating a conclusive vision and in developing the strategy on the way there. To have a product strategy in place is essential because it describes what the company plans to accomplish and is the foundation to prioritize the product roadmap.
The importance of the Product Owner role
One of the main duties is to ensure that each product delivered meets the customer's needs. From an organizational point of view the PO is a team member of the product development team which consists of developers, designers, testers and additional roles necessary to ship a product with the maximum value for the company's customers.