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Learnings and Experiences as a New Product Owner

Last July, I took up a new role as a Product Owner at Mindset. I completed my CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner) certification before I started in the role. The 2-day CSPO training from Mountain Goat Software was a great kick-start; I was a PO for two projects simultaneously before I knew it. I am fortunate to have had amazing mentors on the team who were more than willing to guide me and show me the right way to do things. There is only so much you can learn from training, courses, and others’ experiences than when you start working on a project. So, I thought of listing some of my experiences and learnings during my projects’ tenure as a  Product Owner with this blog.

Know the Product

First and foremost:
– Understand the product requirements and identify what problem you are trying to solve.
– Know who the users are and how they plan to use the product.
– Understand the vision and future roadmap for the product.

Write Clear User Stories

The team needs to know what is expected from the user story by looking at the summary. Sometimes the text could be interpreted differently than what you had in your mind. Have a clear understanding between you and the team and reword if needed.

Do Not Get Attached to the Backlog

Initially, you are proud of the items and the order you chalk out for the backlog, but it is scarce that things would go as planned even after you have all the information. The team might discover technical challenges, complexity, and business priorities change; some features may no longer be needed. Your backlog might look completely different within a week!

Changes are Inevitable

Changes to requirements, vision, priorities, and team are inevitable and sometimes can happen way too frequently. It is critical to manage these changes with less impact on the ongoing development.

Learning to Say ‘No’

It is essential to know when to say No and how. Always have data and a valid basis to support your decisions; it helps when challenging an influential stakeholder.

Decision on the Go

You find yourself able to make daily decisions, such as prioritizing between two equally complex tasks, feature behaviors, choosing one design over the other, and conflict resolutions. These decisions are sometimes time critical, and you will have to go with your gut feel and select an option that gets you closer to the product goal.

Connect with the customer

It is crucial and an integral part of the role to know and understand your customer/user well. You will have to meet and talk to your customers regularly but with reasonable frequency. I loved a phrase in a Medium article by Susan Stavitzski; she says you need not go to your customer for every small decision you have to make. Each time you connect with your customer, you improve your gut enough to know and make decisions on their behalf.

The learning journey in this role is never ending, with each day bringing in new exciting challenges. The destination, however, inevitably remains the same – building delightful products that solve customer problems.

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Rama is a Product Owner at Mindset. Her areas of specialization include Product Management, Agile-Scrum, SAP UI5, Fiori, CAPM, and CDS. She is passionate about solving customer problems by helping to build delightful products. Rama enjoys singing and playing guitar, traveling, and watching movies in her spare time.

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