BA to Product Owner

I’m shifting gears a little bit with this post. I’ve been a BA for a fair few years now. I’ve worked not just in development teams creating software, but also on projects controlling scope and quality, and with clients facilitating process analysis and future state planning. Today, I’m a senior BA in a fantastic company that is taking on the world in it’s industry, in markets across the world. It’s been an exciting, stimulating and challenging year getting up to speed in a new industry. And I’m extra excited today because tomorrow, I get to start a new role doing even more super exciting stuff.

Scaling Agile

A little bit of back ground, for context. The company I work with has some amazing product managers. They know their domain, they understand their markets and customers and work closely with sales and marketing to make things happen commercially. They are also expected to be providing input to the development team as Product Owners by creating and maintaining product backlogs, ensuring that stories are well written and understood by the team and generally being responsible for building the right thing. This may have been the ideal a few years ago, but since then, the company has grown. Development teams are located in 3 different cities for the same solution suite. Sales and Marketing demands have grown immensely. And as the scope of work has expanded, even super-awesome product managers are struggling to fulfill all aspects of their role.

We needed do find a way to let Product Managers do what they are great at, and what only they can do, and take the other stuff into another role.

The Plan for Product Ownership

While the Product Managers still own the Product Vision, Road-map, and all commercial and strategic decisions related to the product suites, the Product Owner role helps translate the vision and road-map into smaller, prioritised stories and features and keeps the development team building the right thing.

While the Product Manager is very much an outward facing role, the Product Owner role is far more inward facing. The goal of the role is to ensure that the Product Manager’s Road-map is translated into a DEEP backlog, and it is sufficiently well defined and articulated for Development teams to start work on. The role focuses on Building the Right Thing, so that the Development Team can Build the Thing Right.

What happens next?

As a senior BA, I’ve been doing a significant chunk of the ‘expected tasks’ in the Product Owner role, including keeping the backlog up to date, collaborating with Product Managers to do Release Planning, ensuring that the team understand the Business Value of features they are building and generally ensuring that we are building the right thing.

From here on I get to do a lot of these officially as a¬†Product Owner, not just for my team but rather for the entire product suite – currently about 4 products in active development. I get to work with our¬†Product Managers and Development Directors to figure out what our goals are, what success looks like and (once I have finished having a nervous breakdown), figure out how we’re going to get there.

But I have a secret weapon – I can depend on the solid, unwavering support of my Tribe Lead who is also undertaking this journey with me!

And I look forward to telling you all about my plans for PO domination (and what the heck is a Tribe anyway) soon!