The Essential Product Owner—Championing Successful Products: An Interview with Ellen Gottesdiener


In this interview, Ellen Gottesdiener talks about her presentation at Agile Development Conference and Better Software Conference West 2014, the importance of having context for requirements, good ways to set value considerations for requirements, and the common mistakes of product owners.

Ellen Gottesdiener will be presenting a presentation titled "The Essential Product Owner: Championing Successful Products" at the Agile Development Conference and Better Software Conference West 2014, which will take place June 1–6, 2014.

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: All right. Today we have Ellen Gottesdiener and she will be speaking at the Agile Development Conference and Better Software Conference West 2014 which is June 1st through June 6th and she is giving a presentation titled The Essential Product Owner: Championing Successful Products.

Ellen Gottesdiener, founder and principal with EBG Consulting, is an internationally recognized leader in the collaborative convergence of requirements plus product management plus project management. Ellen coaches and trains individuals and teams and facilitates discovery and planning workshops across diverse industries. She writes widely and speaks to conferences worldwide. Ellen co-authored, with Mary Gorman, their 2012 book, Discovery to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis.

Ellen Gottesdiener: Discover to Deliver. Yep.

Cameron: Ellen is author of two other acclaimed books, Requirements by Collaboration and The Software Requirements Memory Jogger. Anything else to add?

Ellen: No. That's great. Thank you, Cameron.

Cameron: Okay. All right. Fantastic, and because you're doing a session titled The Essential Product Owner: Championing Successful Products, I would like to ask you about balancing strategic and tactical activities to insure that the product is built correctly.

My first question is, in your presentation you talk about techniques to set context and share understanding of requirements. Why is it important to have context for requirements?

Ellen: Well, it's vastly important. I think we could draw on Lewis Carroll's quote from Alice in Wonderland when he said, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." Everyone on the team really needs to have a shared understanding of the long game and having that context. Context really counts. It gives everyone focus and energy. Not only that, when you're looking at what your potential options for building the product, those requirements, are, actually constraints is a way to unleash creativity.

The other piece of that context is that people are going to do their best work when they can contribute to defining the outcomes and building that shared understanding of the requirements, of the product needs, which basically are the requirements. That's what context setting is all about.

Cameron: What is a good way to set value considerations for requirements?

About the author

Cameron Philipp-Edmonds's picture Cameron Philipp-Edmonds

When not working on his theory of time travel, Cameron T. Philipp-Edmonds is writing for TechWell, StickyMinds, and AgileConnection. With a background in advertising and marketing, Cameron is partial to the ways that technology can enhance a company's brand equity. In his personal life, Cameron enjoys long walks on the beach, romantic dinners by candlelight, and playing practical jokes on his coworkers.

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