If I had to chose one thing that can ensure that the right product is built, it would have to be having the right product owner. Who is that? Someone from the company whose product idea it is, someone who owns it completely, someone who lives the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
As the development shapes up, it’s very easy to give in to the temptation to add a feature here, a fancy thing there. But without deeply questioning whether the feature is really needed, expanding the scope of the MVP is just the thing that derails the building of the right product. And this usually has a cost implication that may not even be budgeted for.
So who can be the right product owner for your product?
- Someone who is completely engaged with the product.
- Someone who understands technology, not necessarily the nitty gritty of development, but is aware about implementation related issues
- Someone who understands the business
- Someone who can be so involved as to give continuous feedback to the development team
At Srijan, the best agile development happens in those teams that are driven by totally engaged product owners in the customer company. We have examples of potential end users of a product getting demos of it, just four weeks into development.
What if such a person does not exist in your company?
In agile development teams, one person plays the role of a product owner. This person plays the role of the client, and does not behave as if he is a Srijanite. He asks the tough questions, keeps an eagle eye on the MVP definition, the sprints and the demos.
I cannot emphasize enough about this. The right product needs the right product owner, and this is a role best played by someone in the product company. But Agile development teams like Srijan have to find the ways to ensure that the product owner on the development side is the right product owner as well.