We live in the digital era. In this era, technology advances at the speed of light. The clients are more demanding, and the competition is higher. Being responsible for creating a product in today’s world is challenging. You don’t have it easy. With an overflood of information, how do you get to build great products?
How do you succeed as a Product Owner? Here are my top 6 recommendations:
#1. Be Visionary. As a Product Owner, you are the one who knows better than anyone what product you are building, how it should be, the problem that it resolves. To succeed, you need to develop products that stand out, and that have a clear vision. You must inspire and share positive energy when you speak about your product and share with as many people as possible what you envision for your product.
#2. Be lean. The main principle of Lean is to minimize waste. How do you actually can do that using Agile?
- You add all the information and description to the user stories for 2–3 sprints ahead, instead of the entire year. You might create high-level user stories for up to 2–3 months (4–6 iterations), but you shouldn’t invest your time in providing all the information to them.
- You prepare the description of the features (significant functionality of a system) for the future program increment (maximum six months ahead). You’ll have a vision and clarity for what features you’ll develop in a year.
- You write the epics (the highest level of requirements, usually a group of functionalities) with a year ahead only.
You’ll have the high-level information on what is the product roadmap, but you’ll invest your time only in the things that you build.
#4. Build a community. Communities are powerful. Communities help you to get a bite in your product, loyalty of your clients, and the best way to grow your market. Use your vision to attract and build a community. Then use the community to mature your idea into a durable product.
There are multiple ways of using community power:
- by involving them in the innovation part of your product,
- by providing you early feedback of the built functionalities — during the sprint review
- by being early adaptors
- by being ambassadors of your product
- by offering suggestions of features they need
#4. Adapt to change. Early in my career, I learned that the only constant in life changes. In the past 20 years, we lived significant world events that were a game-changer for everyone: 9/11, financial crises, fall of industries, the digital revolution, COVID-19, and many more. On our day to day lives, things might not go as we want. Learn to embrace the change while going. Learn how you can find another way to reach your target. To succeed, you need to define the goal, and to find the way to get there in the time you have, even when things become challenging.
#5. Technologically up to date. Technology means progress. If you want to build the products of tomorrow, technology is a big part of it. To need to learn about the new technologies and how they can help you. Use technology in your product and to build your product.
#6. Launch launch launch. In Agile, we step away from project management, and we talk about product management. If projects end (usually when everything is perfect), products have a longer life span. When building products, you start with a version that you keep on building. The first version will not be the perfect complete one but will be enough to earn the first clients, get feedback, get investments, bet started. Launching your product is key. I have seen many product owners that delayed the launch, and when they were “ready,” the market needed something else. As a Product Owner, you need to learn to find the right balance between risk, investment, and benefits. An excellent example of launching is Tesla. The first versions of their cars were elementary. They were selling a self-driven car that wasn’t ready to drive by itself yet. But they keep on improving and releasing updates to their product.