Scrum for Product Owners
by Ray Sheen
The skills of successful Product Owners are in-demand across many industries using the Agile Scrum methodology, including software development, marketing, education and design. The Product Owner has the important role of setting and prioritizing clear goals, understanding the needs of stakeholders and end users, and communicating the vision to the Scrum team in order to create high quality products.
Project Management Approaches
Project Management Methodology
Agile/Scrum is a project management methodology. This means that it provides a set of tools and processes that can be used to organize and manage the project activities.
A sequential project management methodology is a traditional approach to project management. It minimizes risk, but this conservative approach can be lengthy and expensive.
The concurrent project management methodology is a collaborative approach. It can significantly accelerate a project as compared to the sequential approach, but it is much more difficult to project manage.
The Agile/Scrum project management methodology is an iterative approach that requires fewer resources than other approaches.
Project Management Methodology Comparisons
The three approaches presented are three very different ways of managing a project. Understanding the differences will enable a business to select the best approach for their projects.
The Agile/Scrum is a project management methodology that is in sharp contrast to traditional project management. That is because it starts with a different set of underlying precepts.
Sprint – Scrum Process
The Agile/Scrum methodology is a structured project management methodology. It follows a prescribed process that includes Sprints and Scrums.
Sprint – Scrum Meetings
Within the Agile/Scrum project management methodology there are a set of meetings that are used to plan and manage the process. Rather than analytical tools, this methodology relies heavily on the use of specific targeted meetings.
Story Cards, also known as Product Backlog Items (PBIs) are the technique used for documenting project scope, quality requirements, estimates and priority of the deliverables in an Agile/Scrum project.
The product backlog is the prioritized list of project deliverables.
Sprint – Scrum Team
The Scrum Team performs the project work conducted during a Sprint on an Agile/Scrum project.
The Scrum Master is the individual who is responsible for facilitating the Agile/Scrum Sprint process.
The Product Owner role is the person on an Agile/Scrum project who is responsible for establishing and explaining the desired project scope.
Sprint Controls are the project management tools that are used by the Scrum Master and Scrum Team to assess performance.
Step 0: Vision
A clear goal or vision is essential to project success. That is as true with Agile/Scrum as with traditional projects.
Step 1: Preparing the Product Backlog
Preparing the Product Backlog is the first step in the Agile/Scrum Sprint methodology. It includes creating and prioritizing all the Story Cards.
Step 2: Assign Scrum Team
To do the work of the Sprint, a Scrum Team must be assigned.
Step 3: Sprint Planning
The Sprint is initiated with a Sprint Planning Session that organizes the work, estimates the effort, and initializes the Scrum Board and Burn Down Chart.
Step 4: Sprint Execution
Sprint execution is the actual work of the Scrum team during the Sprint to accomplish the tasks needed to complete each Story in the Sprint Backlog.
Step 5: Sprint Demonstration
The Sprint Demonstration is the formal meeting where the Scrum Team demonstrates to the Product Owner the performance of each deliverable that was created during the Sprint.
Step 6: Backlog Refinement
The Backlog Refinement is the update of the Product Backlog based upon what has been completed and what has been learned in a recently completed Sprint.
Step 7: Sprint Retrospective
The Sprint Retrospective is a lessons learned meeting with a focus of identifying opportunities to improve the performance and management of the next Sprint.
Managing the Backlog
Project requirements management in an Agile/Scrum project is conducted using Story Cards and Backlogs. The list of requirements is variable and is not finalized until the end of the project.
Stakeholder Engagement is the effort by the Product Owner to communicate with all affected stakeholders in order to identify potential requirements and provide project status.
Writing Story Cards
The Product Owner writes the story cards, which document the requested scope of an Agile/Scrum project.
Prioritizing the Backlog
The Product Owner must regularly prioritize the Story Cards that make up the Product Backlog and at the beginning of a Sprint he or she must prioritize the Story Cards selected for the Sprint Backlog.
Release planning allows the Product Owner to manage the rollout of capability in order to obtain feedback and assess progress.
Managing the Sprint
Sprint Planning – Part 1
The first portion of the Sprint Planning meeting consists of selecting the Sprint Backlog and clarifying Stories.
During a Sprint, the Scrum Team meets daily at a Scrum Meeting to provide status on progress.
Roadblocks are impediments that prevent the Scrum Team from completing Stories and tasks. The Scrum Master is charged with removing or creating a workaround for the Roadblocks.
Sprint Demonstration Planning
Sprint Demonstration Planning ensures that the Sprint Demo meeting appropriately reflects the work accomplished by the Scrum Team.
Managing the Agile/Scrum Methodology
Role of Management
Agile/Scrum is an organizational approach to project management and requires buy-in from senior management to be effective.
Organizational alignment is the activity needed to ensure the systems and processes within the organization support the Agile/Scrum methodology and do not undermine it.
Agile/Scrum projects are often used to implement both product line strategy and operational strategy. They can be used with customer projects – but there are challenges with that approach.
Senior management also has the role of selecting projects that are suitable for the Agile/Scrum methodology.
When implementing Agile/Scrum, there are several process and project challenges that most organizations encounter and must be addressed.
Agile/Scrum Failure Points
There are common reasons for why an Agile/Scrum implementation initiative will fail. Awareness of these failure points reduces the likelihood that an organization will fall prey to one of these.
This online course will help you achieve the requirements of the Product Owner role in Agile Scrum, and give you a competitive edge to grow your career prospects.
- 37 lessons.
- Understand the roles of Scrum Master, and Scrum Team and Product Owner.
- Know the steps in planning and executing an Agile Scrum project.
- Understand the organizational impact of using Agile Scrum for project management.
- Recognize the differences between Sequential, Concurrent, and Agile project management and know when to use each approach.
- Understand how to use the Agile Scrum tools of Story Cards, Product Backlog, Scrum Boards, and Burn-down Charts.
- Refers to the Project Management Institute's Agile Certified Practitioner Handbook.
- Earn 18.5 contact hours or PDUs toward your project management education for certification with PMI.
Once enrolled, our friendly support team and tutors are here to help with any course related inquiries.
Accreditations and approvals
Great information and review of Agile/Scrum methodology.
— Bryan G. Anders
Great course with lots of examples and course materials related to all business sectors.
— Bulent Pelit
— Andrew Grant Stone
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