„We practice improvement through work, work through improvement, one sprint at a time!“ – Jon Ker, co-author of Agile Manifesto
It’s inevitable that these turbulent times inspect our ability to adapt to a certain situation. Agile is quite a logical answer in these circumstances. Let’s say that you’re searching for an ideal solution and ideal vocation that has become more and more valuable in almost every business. Have you considered becoming a Product Owner? In the previous article, we talked about what skills are needed in order to be a fantastic Scrum Master.
But, what about Product Owners? Here is the most frequently asked question:
What skills do I need to have in order to become a Product Owner?
Well, before that, let’s talk about some of the myths about this role: Anybody can become a Product Owner. Doesn’t it? According to Scrum.org, a Product Owner is responsible for maintaining the entire Product Backlog. Is this really true? The keyword here is “responsible”. Ask yourself this – can a Product Owner maximize the value of work done by the Scrum Team if they are not involved in what goes on in the Product Backlog and in what order? From this perspective, it makes no sense to treat the Product Owner as the only person who can create items for the Product Backlog and prioritize them. Product Owners should work closely with the Development Team to create items for the Product Backlog and prioritize them to maximize the value of work done by them.
To become a real Product Owner Sensei you need to consider Scrum certification that is nowadays mandatory by many companies. In our ten years of experience in Product Owner courses and certification, in cooperation with Scrum Alliance as a world-leading organization, we have educated more than 1500 participants.
Imagine two different persons. Two individuals, ready to invest in their Product Owner careers. But, wait, what’s the difference between them? Answer: their skills.
#1 Always in high demand for Hard Skills
Through proper Certification, it’s easy to find out what skills are mandatory for your career as a Product Owner. But, it is truly challenging to adopt them. So, technical skills are really essential. According to Scrum Guide, Product Owners aren’t a part of the Development Team. So, if and which technical skills a Product Owner requires depend on how the role is applied, right? Actually, they will pick up an understanding of how products are made and be familiar with architectures, languages, and build cycles. Remember, they’re not building the product, they’re just collaborating with the people who are. On the other hand, organizational skills are inevitable for this role. For example, for Product Owner being a decision-maker is correlated with having analytical and negotiation skills. Many conflict situations may occur during work on creating a product. But remember, Product Owner is not only a „messenger” who does everything that the stakeholders intend to say. He/she must also have the ability to process information – discover hidden needs that even the customer or user could not imagine.
#2 Soft Skills are mandatory
These skills are somehow coming before gaining hard skills, right? Communication, as well as being an amazing storyteller is something that is nowadays mandatory for each position, not only Product Owner. Enthusiastic, assertive and excellent planner are something that you naturally adopt and also learn through Certification with your Trainer and the rest of the group.
#3 Conflict and Problem Resolver
We had to single out these skills because they’re essential for successful collaboration with Scrum Master. Remember – Scrum Masters and Product Owners are friends. They complement each other in current projects. Scrum Master should support the Product Owner in decision and empowerment issues and also help with tools and techniques. Also, Product Owner should have a global perception of the clients’ demands. For these reasons, the Scrum Master needs the Product Owner. And this is one long, unbreakable circle. As a Product Owner, you have to have the courage and the capability to engage when things get difficult. And know this: you generally have to go through conflict to get to a solution. You’ll need to be collaborative to minimize the negative, and you’ll need to mediate.
#4 And, what about the Product Leadership?
Leadership is the key to 99% of all successful efforts, right? Product Leadership is something you’ll learn continuously. But, here are some great tips that great leaders say every day:
a) “What do you need?”
This is crucial for two reasons. First, people need to know that you care about them on personal and professional levels and that you want them to succeed. Second, if you put together a great plan, you need to leverage every person’s abilities to the maximum extent possible.
b) “I trust you.”
If you can’t trust the people on your team, then they shouldn’t be in your team. You need to trust their integrity, judgment, confidence and their passion – and you need to ensure that they understand how much you depend on them.
c) “You can count on me.”
If your team can’t trust you, they shouldn’t do you the great honor of letting you lead them. So tell them you’ve got their back, and then work like hell to fulfill the promises you make.
And these are just small pieces of a great puzzle called Product Owners’ skills. Organization, empathy and a sense of community are also crucial, and we assure you that through certification, especially working with different people and their mindset, you’ll notice these significant aspects faster and smarter. ☺️
Don’t be shy and join us on this unusual journey. 🎯
Product Owner skills are easy to find but very challenging to learn. If you’re at the beginning, maybe you are looking for Certified Scrum Product Owner Course (15th – 16th April 2021) with Petri Heiramo. He will be your trainer, teacher, coach and true support during this important journey.
Are you with us?