Product Ownership – Responsibilities of the customer in an agile environment.
Agile project management methods such as Scrum require a rethinking of roles between contractor and client. In contrast to traditional models, the customer plays a crucial role within the project and is – as product owner (PO) – a member of the project team himself. The PO is supported for the duration of the project by the proxy product owner (PPO) of the contractor. The PPO represents the interests of the customer in the daily work. PO and PPO share a joint understanding of the product vision, which describes the core tasks of the development team and describes how the needs of the stakeholders can be met.
The agile project management process
Together, PO and PPO create the task list in the so called backlog. This represents the sum of all requirements needed to fulfill the product vision. In the first step, the PO has the task to define priorities and sequence of tasks so that the development team knows which tasks should be implemented first. The main reason for this is to provide a tangible value for the stakeholders as soon as possible.
Work in Progress
In the second step the team works on the prioritized tasks. Here the performance (velocity) of the team is measured and – at the same time – the team’s work limited to a specific timeframe (WIP limit). This serves to increase the throughput – that is, the actual results of the team
Upon completion, the results are handed over to the contractor, who can now verify and approve them.
An important and indispensable means of agile methods is the continuous and immediate communication among all project participants (PO, PPO, development team). For this purpose, numerous ceremonies such as daily standups, review and demonstration meetings, backlog groomings, retrospectives, etc., exist.
* inspired by Henrik Kniberg "Product Ownership in a Nutshell"