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Let your developers focus on what they are really good at — coding. Leave all the management processes, such as reporting to stakeholders or managing backlog to Product Owner, so the development process goes more efficiently.
Prioritize the product’s features that your customers want. Multiple teams in the company regularly request new things to be developed by engineers, but Product Owner, based on their market knowledge, is the one who decides what goes first.
Run your new project on software development best practices. Product Owner brings the needed expertise to your company, planning the work of engineers so everything is delivered on time and within the budget.
Make your team as efficient as possible. Agile, Scrum, and other similar methodologies have been implemented in order to allow engineers to work in an environment that drives innovation, and the Product Owner is the guardian of these principles.
Startups usually relatively quickly start looking for a Product Owner. After they already hire a few developers, there must be someone to manage their work and take care of all the non-dev things for them, so coders can simply focus on the code itself.
With Product Owner in a Scrum team, a new level of organization will be added to your company. Thanks to it, the software will be delivered faster, correct new features will be prioritized, and users’ needs will be translated into specific tasks to be taken care of by a developer. Even more importantly, you will be sure that there is one specific person responsible for the vision behind your product - it won’t be anymore a mix of ideas coming from different people, but a clear plan for the future.
But what is exactly a Product Owner and how to hire one that will really fit well into your team? To find the answer to these and other related questions, continue reading this piece.
Product Owners have a lot on their plate. It’s not only about the great variety of tasks they have every day, but also the number of people from different teams trying to reach out to them.
Some of the most important and typical Product Owner responsibilities are:
To the untrained eye, Product Owner and Project Manager might seem like the same role, just named differently. But, although there are some similarities between the two, Project Manager and Product Owner responsibilities differ significantly enough to have people in both of these roles working on the same project.
Putting it as simply as possible, Project Manager is responsible for delivering the product within the set deadlines and budget, while Product Owner’s goal is to establish the whole vision behind the product as well as the strategy that will make the product successful. Both PM and PO work closely with the team, but Product Owner is more often entangled in the team’s day-to-day tasks. This is because a PO plans Scrum sprints and participates in daily standups.
One might say that Project Manager’s way of working is more linear — there are always strict goals to follow, and each of them has to be accomplished to follow-up with another one. On the other hand, the Product Owner role has more space for creativity. The vision of the product can always be adjusted to currents trends or needs, and some functionalities prioritized over the other ones.
Product Owner job descriptions posted here and there on the internet often don’t really give enough of an idea of what constitutes a good PO. Based on our own insights and talks with multiple great POs, here are some of the most important skills a Product Owner should have:
Best Product Owners are usually people with some kind of business background. Great insights can be also brought by a technical Product Owner — one that worked as a developer before. However, please bear in mind that not every developer has enough skills and the specific attitude needed for a Product Owner role.
When hiring a Product Owner, don’t only look at their experience as PO, but also on what they’ve been doing before. Not many people start their career as Product Owners — they are usually getting promoted to this role after working in other positions. As we’ve already mentioned, the business background seems to be the most typical one. However, people who previously happened to be working in marketing, design, QA, analytics, or many other roles, can also become a Product Owner.
To put it simply, you should always look for a company and project fit. If you are running a fintech startup, why not hire someone who has worked in a bank or other financial institution? If your product is very technical and targeting IT companies or devs themselves, you might also think of hiring a technical Product Owner — one who worked as a developer in their career.
Of course, the experience as a Product Owner itself is also incredibly important. You shouldn’t hire an external person that claims to “be able to work as a PO” even though they’ve never actually tried themselves in this role. Once again, remember that Project Managers are not POs and they may not be that suitable to work directly with developers.
Finally, there is the interview. Of course, many of the questions you choose to ask will be directly linked to what your company is specifically doing and how the team looks like. However, there are some general Product Owner interview questions that we can recommend:
Product Owner is crucial in leading your product in the right direction. To allow the Product Owner to do their job properly, you need, however, to fill your team with talents ready to take on the challenge.
To get connected with top designers, developers, data scientists, and other experts, reach out to us at Ideamotive. We run an extensive network of best-in-class IT professionals looking for new opportunities. Whatever is your industry and whatever kind of product you are developing, we are able to find experts with experience in projects similar to yours.
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