Mobile App Development

What is a product owner and why does your app need one?

March 1, 2015

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This is part two in a series on Agile development at Lextech. Read part one here.

Previously we covered an introduction to Agile development at Lextech. We wrote about the value of sprints and incremental delivery and introduced the product owner (or PO). Now let’s take a closer look at the product owner role.

Product owner – the client’s advocate

Every scrum team at Lextech has a dedicated product owner who serves as the voice of the customer. That is, the product owner advocates what is in the client’s best interest throughout the software development project. The product owner is available to their team throughout the day to provide quick answers to any questions regarding specific requirements. This way there are no delays in the team delivery at each sprint’s conclusion.

Experts there from the very beginning

The Lextech product owner is with our client every step of the way. The product owner’s work begins even before the work order is signed. As our business development team works with a prospect or returning client to define the scope of the project, a product owner is working with you to further flesh out (and to help our clients define) the high-level requirements which can then be presented to our technical teams for effort estimation. By getting involved in the project before the work order has been signed, our product owner can help our clients define a clear picture of the business challenges that they’re trying to resolve. They’re experts in their field, providing in-depth knowledge of mobile app technology to the project – of great value to each client.

Breaking it all down to get it done

Once a prospect becomes a client, the Lextech product owner works with the client to write user stories in easy-to-understand language, including acceptance criteria that define tests the user story must pass in order to be considered done.  The product owner meets regularly with their scrum team to review the collection of user stories that the product owner intends the team to work on in an upcoming sprint. This allows the product owner to identify any dependencies within the user stories early on so that by the time we get to our sprint planning meeting with the scrum team, every user story meets that team’s definition of ready.

Product owner is part project planner, part translator for the client

The Lextech product owner is experienced at helping our clients in breaking down their requirements into features and then prioritizing those features so that the scrum team is always delivering the highest business value to the client at the conclusion of each and every sprint. Prior to the start of software development on a project, the Lextech product owner presents a release plan to the client, which lays out the collection of features that the product owner intends to develop in each sprint. This allows the product owner to focus the scrum team on delivering the minimum viable product to the client at the very earliest opportunity, placing working software into your hands after each sprint concludes.

In part three of this series, we’ll describe why at Lextech Global Services, the phrase “continuous improvement” is something that we take to heart.