Common Challenges Faced by a Product Owner [#Scrum #ProductOwner #AgileNewsAndViews]

COMMON CHALLENGES FACED BY A PRODUCT OWNER [#Scrum #ProductOwner #AgileNewsAndViews]

1. THE LACK OF A ROADMAP
2. HAVING UNCLEAR ACCEPTANCE CONDITIONS OR CAST-IRON DETAILS
3. SKEWED TIME-INVESTMENT RATIO BETWEEN PRODUCT SUPPORT AND BACKLOG GROOMING
4. MAKING PRIORITY CHANGES DURING AN ONGOING SPRINT

1. THE LACK OF A ROADMAP
The product roadmap is your guide to the project. The product roadmap is the funnel that channels the efforts of your agile team.

The lack of a good product roadmap would have you and your team making knee-jerk reactions to customer requests, rather than acting out of a strategic plan or vision for the product.

Though it is very important to listen and respond to requirements of the customer actively, it may put you at risk of listening solely to the “noisy” customers and over-customizing to their needs – affecting the needs of the general and future customer bases.

To make a good roadmap, it is advisable to make a roadmap based on sound market research, industry standards and best practices rather than building a product exclusively based on the customization requests from the customers.

2. HAVING UNCLEAR ACCEPTANCE CONDITIONS OR CAST-IRON DETAILS
Having user stories that are under-defined, leaving too much free room for interpretation puts your product team in danger of having to deal with scope creep – and it often requires extensive rework to correct it.

On the other hand, if the acceptance criteria are chock-full of unyielding, rigid details, the Scrum team will then just become a team of order-takers, unable to exercise their creativity and innovation.

It is important to draw a fine line of balance between the above two tendencies.

3. SKEWED TIME-INVESTMENT RATIO BETWEEN PRODUCT SUPPORT AND BACKLOG GROOMING
Product Backlog items with ambiguous acceptance criteria are traps for unaware Product Owners. They suck invaluable time and often hide the enormous negative effect they have on the deadlines, being masked as productive work.

Loosely defined user stories have stakeholders translating the requirements freely according to their own perspective, and the Scrum team would develop a product that is far removed from the end user’s expectations, resulting in a complete setback.

This is not the end of the problem. The development of the new user story could have even further deviation. Sales teams would begin promotion from the standpoint of how they believe the product would work, not on how it actually works. Hence, the end user will have different notions of how the product would work.

The Product Owner would have to coordinate between the various teams, clearing the confusion, determining what that specific feature is actually intended for, and take corrective actions – instead of grooming the Product Backlog. This is clearly, a lot of work.

The simplest way to fix this is to simply spend more time grooming the Product Backlog, right from the start.

4. MAKING PRIORITY CHANGES DURING AN ONGOING SPRINT
One of the core Agile principles is to welcome change, even late in the developmental process. However, if it is handled haphazardly, it could be detrimental to the ability of the team to deliver what has been promised to the customer.

Changes during a Sprint can cause interruptions that negatively impact the velocity of the team and potentially, the quality of the deliverables too – due to context switching.

To avoid this issue, shortening the sprint span helps a lot, especially if the Scrum team works in an environment where changes come frequently,.

Your overarching goal should be to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of quality products, and all of the above challenges serve to further that cause if resolved the right way.

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