Sometimes a challenge can be turned into an opportunity. When our team learned that the business needed to pull their popular Product Owner to focus on another team, a sense of panic set in. There would be a job search that could and did take months. Who would help the team on their path to creating value in the interim? How would we operate? Over time, what seems to be a negative turn of events was turned upside down.
When it comes to guiding the development of a product and ensuring you’re building what the user actually needs, a product owner is the most important hire for the team. There’s just one problem: A good product owner can be really hard to find. The characteristics that make a good product owner are elusive, but here are three qualities you should prioritize in your search.
The business analyst (BA) has played a key role in software development. But within a modern agile context, the role of the BA is less clear, and there is some confusion as to whether the product owner role subsumes that of the traditional BA. Let’s look at the roles the BA can play with agile teams and how to fully leverage their expertise to supplement or augment that of the product owner.
Prioritizing stories for an upcoming sprint can lead to confusion and miscommunication between the product owner and agile teams. But putting that exercise into financial terms, such as purchase, budget, cost, and investment—a set of words that everyone understands, no matter what their area of expertise is—gets everyone thinking about value.
You have heard about agile software development techniques such as eXtreme Programming (XP), Scrum, and Agile Modeling (AM). The industry is buzzing with everything from "this is the greatest thing ever" to "it's just hacking with a fancy new name." Comments like "there is no place for testers because developers and users do the testing now" and "testers play an important role in the agile methods" are both common. Scott Ambler, an early proponent of the agile movement, explains the fundamentals, values, and principles of agile development. He describes a range of agile techniques and explores many myths and misconceptions surrounding agility. Agile software development is real, it works, and it may be an important part of your future in testing. Better testing and improved quality are critical aspects of agile software development, but the roles of traditional testers and QA professionals on agile projects remain unclear.