Epics and stories and sprints, oh my! My first week of “Product Ownership” was hectic to say the least. But after our first successful sprint review, my team and I, gained a little wind in our sails to be able pick up and move on to the next sprint full throttle.
What is Scrum? What is my role as Product Owner going to entail? Will I have the ability to create enough “stories” for my team so they’re not bored? These were all questions circling through my head after the very first day of taking on this role. After a mild “freak-out” I gathered my thoughts and my notebook and directed my questions at Google and YouTube (because that’s how us kids research these days). I found a ton of useful information on “how-to” be a Product Owner, Product Owner do’s and don’ts and tips for successful Product Owners. These tools were very helpful and slowly started to ease my nerves although they didn’t exactly bring me down to a cool, calm, and collected frame of mind. Overall I learned that the Product Owner role is a daily learning process that is ever changing. I am finding myself constantly changing stories or altering the way I originally envisioned an idea. For me, a control freak and perfectionist, this was a brand new technique to learn. And being only in our second week, I am just beginning to wrap my head around the constantly evolving process known as The Agile Scrum Methodology.
Ok, so, you’re probably wondering, what is a Product Owner? For those of you who may not be familiar with the Scrum methodology, which I gather may be quite a few of you, the Product Owner role is probably the least “directed” roll in the entire Scrum process. The role of the Product Owner is to envision the end game of a product development process based on a set of requirements outlined by what is called a stakeholder (I call him The Boss). For someone like myself who excels when given a task list and sent on her way, this role is challenging. Now, I’m the one who has to make the task lists!
A typical day for me includes a weekly “stand-up” meeting with my team and the Scrum Master to review what we completed the day before, what we will take on for the current day, and then review the impediments keeping us from being able to accomplish our goals for the sprint. Since this was our first week as a team, we had a plethora of meetings filling up our mornings. These meetings included story grooming sessions, demo reviews and “how-tos.” Between meetings I continue to write and groom stories for the next sprint, while my team works on stories that have already been written and groomed for them.
I could close this post by saying that the road ahead will be one of clear skies and smooth sailing because I’ve got it all figured out…. but that would be a lie! I expect bumpy roads and my team to hate each other at one-point or another. I expect the roadmap I designed to probably change another 27 times. I expect to be constantly frustrated with myself because I like clear-cut objectives. But all of that is okay, as I wanted to hang up my perfectionist hat for a little while anyway. Maybe try on a ‘let it go and be comfortable with change’ t-shirt for a while? All I know is that this internship has provided us with so many chances to try new things and wear new hats (figuratively speaking of course!) It has given us endless opportunities to learn and be innovative and creative in our own ways. And who knows, maybe by the end of this internship, someone can say the words “Product Owner” without me feeling the side effects of a panic attack!
About The Author:
Nicole Marmion is currently interning with the marketing department and is working on mobile consumer behavior research. She is a recent graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Psychology.