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The Importance Of A Product Owner

When it comes to successful software delivery, the product owner is a crucial part of your scrum team. Scrum is a lightweight yet incredibly powerful framework used in agile software development. As a software consulting agency, always focused on delivering software, SEQTEK utilizes this framework as a basis for its software development process and team structure.

Scrum teams consist of a product owner, scrum master, and the development team (software developers, QA analysts, data scientists, etc.). Most people understand or at least appreciate what the development team does because the members of that group are the ones making the magic. I want to focus on the product owner because while the development team is responsible for building the software the right way, the product owner’s main responsibility is to ensure that the development team is building the right thing.

product owner

Software stakeholders on the business side often don’t understand technical jargon, don’t know how to communicate their wants in an easily digestible way to developers, and usually change what they want throughout the duration of a project. This is extremely frustrating for developers, who are not so much concerned with what they are building for the business, just that the thing they’re building works and satisfies what the business tells them. You can probably see how this is a recipe for disaster if the business can’t communicate what they want or changes what they want the development team to build. This is precisely why there is a detrimental gap in some large organizations between what the business expects and what IT actually delivers.

Given SEQTEK’s adoption of the scrum framework and its experience in software projects, we always assign a product owner to our teams, both small and large. The product owner, like I mentioned before, is primarily responsible for ensuring that the development team is building the right thing. There are three main benefits of having a product owner on our teams:

1. The team has one individual they can count on to facilitate communication to/from project stakeholders and the developers.

2. The team has one individual that is responsible for capturing all requirements/wants and prioritizing them so that the team knows they are always working on the most valuable items.

3. The team has one individual whose responsibility is to manage the outcome of the team rather than manage the team itself, which liberates the team to be creative and take risks.

We’ve seen projects fail at various levels because organizations don’t have someone to facilitate the product owner role and we have seen ourselves the advantages of having a product owner on our teams. The benefits of a product owner are seen by the development team and the project stakeholders/users because of the continuous successful delivery that the product owner helps ensure.

– Sam Haines (Product Owner, SEQTEK)

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