A Day In The Life Of A Product Owner
Today, at every junction, digital products are making an appearance. From retailers, advertisers, and banks, to bloggers, universities, and startuppers, everyone has their own marvelous product. Behind all the razzle-dazzle, stands a commanding officer who backs his million-dollar masterpiece into a promising business!
We designate that officer as a "product owner." He/she is the driving force behind a product that not only sells but also supports! In addition to being a dexterous proprietor to a tool, a product owner takes a primitive concept to a fully furnished gizmo through a vast shipment of technical decisions!
If I ask you to name the top three products that are indisputably your life support, you wouldn’t take more than a minute. Today, the importance of digital products speaks for itself. But where does a product owner stand?
The common questions
Is the calling of a product owner limited to just launching a well-to-do product? Or are there a multi-fold of dimensions we are yet to discover? After being a worth-a-million businessperson (quite literally!), does a product owner bid goodbye to his work to simply enjoy and paint the town red? Or, does he adhere to the “with great power, comes great responsibility” motto?
Well, if you want to decipher every little thing that goes in a day of the life of a product owner, you have arrived at the right page! (No need to ring a stalker alert bell, though!) This article took hours of groundwork. Together, we will unveil the customary routine of a product owner. So, let’s get started!
What does a product owner do?
The most elemental duty of a product owner is to exemplify the customer to the development team. Additionally, his/her key activity is to manage and moderate the product backlog. This includes:
Setting new features in motion
Remodeling existing features
Changes in infrastructure
A product owner is typically the pacesetter of a product and prioritizes the list of requirements for subsequent product development. In fact, he/she is the only person who can mutate the order of proceedings in the product backlog.
Colloquially speaking, these people must be at the disposal of the development team at all times. Also, they must serve as an encyclopedia to their queries and apprehensions regarding a customer’s reviews on how they put a product feature into effect. Product owners are the center of each development cycle that coerces a product into a flourishing state.
Since they are the flag-bearers of their product, agile product owners have to take charge of specific roles, including a market analyst, project manager, customer liaison, business strategist, and much more!
Above all, it is a product owner’s responsibility to envision what he/she intends to build. The next step is to impart that vision to the team.
The fast-pacing life of a product owner
A product owner possesses the rights of the entire product. Subsequently, the individual must focus on sustaining the success of his/her product. This is done by ensuring a strong value proposition in the market and to the users. In turn, it offers great business benefits.
There is no manual to mastering the art of being an expert product owner. However, a proficient owner is someone who is well-acquainted with the intricacies of his/her brand. Since having an in-depth understanding of their model, business, and the market is of paramount importance; these people possess a steadfast life with minimal coffee breaks in between!
The role of a product owner is extremely demanding, with a mammoth of responsibilities at hand! Hence, their job is not pretty much limited to offering a product that users ardently love, but also ensuring that they, along with their development team, deliver the best possible customer value.
It is true that product owners recruit a full-fledged team that strives to transform the product into a beacon of success. Yet, despite this fact, they simply cannot levy all the work on their employee’s heads. Hence, product owners pretty much have a full-time job. After all, bridging the gap amid their business and the customer’s needs, and monitoring the development team is not a cakewalk!
Day to day responsibilities of a product owner
A product owner holds a bag of various responsibilities. Let us have a look at some of them:
1. Sequencing the vision
A product owner is accountable for setting product goals and creating visions for a lucrative outcome. Moreover, their breadth of view must be clearly communicated with people who are associated with the product. These include the development team and other stakeholders. In turn, this accelerates the vision while making decisions based on direction and prioritization.
2. Reigning the product backlog
A product owner is in authority to manage and develop the list of duties to be performed by the development team. Some of these tasks are - creating reports of product backlog items alongside the acceptance criteria and pulling the team's strings to attain the product vision.
Product owners also optimize the work performance of their subordinates by demonstrating the backlog to them. Additionally, they also ensure that the stakeholders get the hang of their long-term strategies and the development roadmap.
Expert advice: The product backlog is the “chief constituent” of all the work to be done during the development process. If you are a budding product owner, make sure to
continually update the backlog in order to assign essential tasks obstinately!
3. Checking the finances
Another responsibility of a product owner is to tackle all the economic decisions throughout the development process. He/she has to learn the ropes of the “Iron Triangle” of any project - budget, scope, and schedule.
These are the triple constraints that occur during most product developments. Getting a knack of these provides the ultimate return of investment! As a product owner, an individual also has to determine the expenditure on each of the product backlog items.
4. Engaging in development events
A product owner is the main ingredient of development events that include the following aspects:
Planning the product
Refining the strategies
Reviewing the product backlog
Retrospecting the business model
The sprint in an Agile process
Amid all the planning and outlining, product owners join forces with stakeholders and assess the plan of action. Also, during the weekly refinement assembly, owners work with the development team to illustrate, estimate, elaborate, order, or eliminate items in the product backlog.
A product owner is also accountable for scrutinizing customer reviews in order to move ahead with elicit feedback. Moreover, he/she also collaborates with the development team and selects all plausible improvement actions.
Only a product owner holds the authority to incorporate or annul a task from the Sprint process, and cease the overall development process of the product. Additionally, he/she can attend day-to-day scrums to coordinate with the team and monitoring the work within the sprint.
Basically, the responsibilities of a product owner are at par with the genius who first came up with the wheel!
A sneak-peak into the daily routine of a product owner
An everyday routine of a product owner is no less than somersaulting on a twiggy rope! Playing along with user demands as he/she culls, clears, and conveys the requirements of the stakeholders is not an easy job.
In addition to the plethora of responsibilities to cater to, an owner also has to ensure that the Scrum Team receives the correct feedback to enhance the product at the right momentum. If you still think that product owners have it easy, let us take you to a typical day into their life:
1. Morning - churning out the breakfast calories
Imagine me taking you through a visit to the office on a strenuous Monday! After all, as much as Mondays are for fresh starts, they are also devoted to frantically running in all directions to get the work done!
9:30 AM: Beginning with the daily standup meeting
Most of the product owners adhere to the Agile methodology that emulsifies the product development process into comprehensive work periods, known as sprints. The kickstart to each day is a standup or scrum meeting that sets the day’s itinerary into motion.
An owner asks each team member the following questions:
What did you do last Friday?
What are your goals for the day?
Is anything curbing my workflow?
As the product owner is in charge of the system, he/she ensures that the team is all set to fulfill the vision, in addition to plausible obstacles.
10:30 AM: Refurbish the product backlog
The next task of a product owner is to create and maintain the product backlog. This backlog is like the holy-Bible to the product management team. Therefore, it carries the utmost importance.
A product owner does the following:
Updates the product backlog throughout the day
Priorities each item on the list prior to the sprint session
Also, a profound understanding of business techniques is crucial for a product owner to be able to ace the product backlog.
11:15 AM: Chit-chatting with developers to govern their activity
In most cases, a product owner is invited to side meetings that discuss the emerging issues from the team scrum. These are resolved by the developers. However, a product owner clarifies a certain feature and its functionality, so that developers can follow his/her lead to deliver an app that mirrors the product owner’s vision.
2. Afternoon - work-a-thon for product owners
On a Monday afternoon, you will witness a product owner on his toes! Let us see how:
12:30 PM: Meeting with stakeholders
A product owner needs to be available to everyone who wants to have a word with him/her. This includes everyone in the scrum team to the key stakeholders. It goes without saying that while a product owner tirelessly works to master a sprint, stakeholders have an eye of a hawk, setting goals for the upcoming product release!
This session involves a product owner conquering daily issues in the ongoing discussion, and setting eyes on the long-term goal as well! A 30-minute meeting with stakeholders seals the deal!
1:00 PM: Laboring on the product backlog for the subsequent sprint
At this hour, a product owner jots down the impending sprint developments and puts the ground plans into a frame.
1:30 PM: A halt amid the anarchy
Like every other workaholic, even product owners need a while before they can get back to the action!
2 PM: Systematizing second-string tasks like a pro
After a product owner finishes the primary daily grind, he/she gets to work on the secondary duties of substance:
Reading and reviewing customer feedback and comments on the App store
Walking through the latest APIs to discuss potential specs and questions
Swinging by the technical team to weigh out resourcing, solutions, team members, and much more.
Meeting new team members and analyzing their perceptions for the growth of the development team.
3. Evening - ending the day with concrete outcomes
During the evening, a product owner can be seen concluding the day’s work. However, before heading home, he/she has to:
4:30 PM: Team meeting to summarize testing results
The product owner attends a team meeting that focuses on the representation of test results, while the product passes by the development cycle. He/she flags any glitches and announces the next plan of action.
Lastly, it is the duty of a product owner to imbibe a strategic, advanced overview in order to tailor an unsurpassable product!
A responsible product owner rides on the coattails of four pre-requisites - strategy, support, sustainability, and service! It is a well-established fact that the role of an owner is extremely challenging and wearisome.
As you saw, a day in the life of a product owner is chaotic, with all the building blocks maneuvering at once. However, with such brevity and impermanence, these individuals deliver a stellar product. This is how they weld the great results by providing continual support to the team and winning over the stakeholders! Alike their name, a product owner truly “owns” the business model!