The Professional Product Owner — Leveraging Scrum as a Competitive Advantage

By Ralph Jocham, Don McGreal

Which Pizza do you love?
Now lets go behind the Pizza counter of your favorite Pizza Store. Imagine that you are now working as a Delivery Manager of this Pizza Store.

As a Delivery Manager what are the metrics you are going to focus upon?
Number of Pizzas delivered in a day? Time taken to deliver a pizza on a particular route?

Lets switch perspectives now.
Imagine that you now are the owner of the Pizza Store. What are the metrics you would now focus upon?
Customer Satisfaction? Revenue from the new menu you launched last week?

What are the tools that help you generate a Vision?

A good vision needs to be:

  • Focused — Who the target customer is and whats your value proposition
  • Emotional — Does it appeal to the heart of people who are going to accomplish it?
  • Practical — Can people imagine doing that?
  • Pervasive — Can you as the Product Owner communicate it so that it is clearly understood and adhered to?

Value

Value is divided into two halves. 1) The Consumer Value 2) The Producer Value
Consumer Value — You have just purchased an iPhone. What do you think value ultimately means to you as a consumer?
Ultimately, isn’t it happiness that you seek from any purchase?
I mean, what good is the great bargain price you paid, the Bezel-less display, the dual camera if they don’t invoke a feeling of happiness in you?

Switch perspectives again!
Producer Value — You are now the CEO of the Company that produces a phone. Beyond genuine Customer Value, ultimately wouldn’t you want to get paid for the phone by your happy consumers? How would you run your business if you don’t get paid for the Product you are producing?
So wouldn’t it be safe to say, Producer Value is getting paid from customers whose problems you have solved?

A Dolphin versus a Submarine

When do you think Value is delivered? When do you actually get feedback for your product or even paid for your product? Exactly…it is when your customers have it in their hands and are using them. Wouldn’t this mean, Frequent Release = Frequent Value?

A submarine dives into the water and perhaps shows up after weeks or months on the other end of the ocean.
In contrast a Dolphin playfully jumps in and out of water frequently. The metaphor here is important.
The submarine can be equated to a Waterfall model of Product Development. Gather requirements from the customer and show up once the entire Product is ready.
A Dolphin on the other hand equates to an Agile Model of Software Development. Having frequent deliverables to customers, gathering their feedback, iterating and building a better deliverable each time, makes for an Agile development model.

How do you measure Value?

Key Value Areas (KVAs)

Suggested Reading: Evidence Based Management by Scrum.org (Free Guide)
https://www.scrum.org/resources/evidence-based-management-guide?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuoS3jZb63wIVjaiaCh0-sAUTEAAYASAAEgI9j_D_BwE

Validation

Validation is all gathering data, measuring and finding out if your hypotheses (your deliverables) achieved what you thought they would achieve. If not, what corrective action would you take?

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

There are different kinds of MVP’s that help you put out your product in the wild and gather data.
Customer Surveys, Single Features Products, Landing Pages are all different kinds of MVPs.

Exercises for you

  • Exercise 1: Product Box
  • Look at this picture on your left
  • What is the message that this box is trying to convey?
  • To whom is this box trying to convey a message? Whose attention is it trying to catch?
  • Where or which rack do you think it was placed on in the super store from where it was bought? And why?
  • Now, think of your entrepreneurial venture, your product, what would your Product Box look like?
  • Exercise 2: You are the Product Owner at your favorite Pizza Store
  • What would be your vision for this product?
  • How would you deliver and measure the value that this product delivers?
  • How would you validate your hypotheses?

This book is pure gold for Product Owners, Entrepreneurs, Product Development Startups and Businesses alike

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Start by raising your self awareness

I love the profession of Product Management that helps me build meaningful relationships with teams and customers. I just can’t get enough of reading!