3 Traits of Successful Product Owners

By: Nikki Dent

Whether you’ve just been named Product Owner on a Scrum team or you’ve been filling that role for some time, you want to be successful in the role. While the definition of success looks different for every individual and every team, we’ve found that Product Owners who do well in their role tend to share a few common personality traits. For their book, The Professional Product Owner, Don McGreal and Ralph Jocham interviewed Product Owners after taking a training course about which traits they thought were the most important for a Product Owner to possess. We’re going to take a closer look at the top three traits they identified, being decisive, visionary, and resilient, and how these traits can lead to success.

Be Decisive

The Product Owner is the person that has been granted authority by the stakeholders to make decisions for the project. Therefore, you become the person the team looks to for answers to questions, to be the final say in disagreements, and to prioritize work. Your being able to make decisive decisions will lend clarity to everyone on the team.

 

In all development projects there are times when tough calls have to be made based on value and where the team puts their efforts. Often the work of the dev team will be on hold pending a decision from you, so it’s critical that you make decisions quickly and confidently.

A Product Owner orders backlog items for the next sprint.

Be a Visionary

As Product Owner, you are the architect of the vision for the product that the team is building. That vision might be for the solution itself or for the impact the product will have on your business. In other words, the vision is how your software will solve your problem and what that problem-free future looks like for your company. A true visionary not only sees the project for themselves, but then can also communicate and share that vision with the other members of the team. When your vision is clear to all members of your team, you’ll get buy-in and everyone will more easily work toward that goal. It’s also your responsibility to keep that vision on the top of every team member’s mind throughout the project, so work doesn’t stray from that vision.

Be Resilient

When working on any software project, there will be things that don’t go according to plan. For example, during user acceptance testing (UAT) you might hear feedback that you didn’t expect that could lead you to rethink large pieces of functionality. In a time like this, it’s important to show resilience and treat what looks (and might feel) like a setback as a learning opportunity. The rest of the team will be looking to you for guidance on what to work on next given the feedback and you can help them see the feedback as a positive way to refine work and make the software more valuable. There are many ways to be a strong Product Owner, but we hope that remembering these three traits of success with help guide you in your work. At Aptera, we’re dedicated to pairing strong product owners with high quality dev teams that take the time to understand your vision. Want to learn more? Let’s start a conversation.

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About Nikki Dent

Nikki is a technical copywriter for Aptera. With a bachelor’s degree in writing from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., she has been honing her craft of marketing copywriting for the past six years. In her role at Aptera, Nikki enjoys learning and writing about the technology and strategy at work across the company.