Product Owner

The Product Owner (PO) is a member of the Agile Team responsible for defining Stories and prioritizing the Team Backlog to streamline the execution of program priorities while maintaining the conceptual and technical integrity of the Features or components for the team. The PO has a significant role in quality control and is the only team member empowered to accept stories as done. For most enterprises moving to Agile, this is a new and critical role, typically translating into a full-time job, requiring one PO to support each Agile team (or, at most, two teams). This role has significant relationships and responsibilities outside the local team, including working with Product Management, who is responsible for the Program Backlog, to prepare for the Program Increment (PI) Planning meeting.

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. —Agile Manifesto

As the product owner should directly interact with the customers and users, the development team, and other key stakeholders, as the picture below shows.

Identifying Profitable Opportunities — by understanding the market, overseeing the products already in the market and researching into user’s needs
Defining the Product — deciding which features to be present in what releases based on market, target users, and impact of each features on different user groups
Guiding the development — by writing requirements, user stories and prioritizing features based on effort and impact
Scaling the product — defining Go to Market Strategies, understanding the user interactions, experimenting and focusing on what’s working and leaving out what’s not, deriving and using market insights
Product Strategy — Managing road-map as a function of the market, keep product goals aligned with company’s goals

Create Unique Value
A good product is designed with the focus on a set of important needs. Also, you wouldn’t want to unnecessary risk your time, energy and resources with a product scope that is too large.

That’s why you want to start with an initial MVP (Minimum Viable Product) so that you could test the underlying assumptions that you have made while identifying the needs you want to solve.

Value Proposition
Value proposition should brief on following 4 questions –
Who is your core customer?
What need are you satisfying?
What’s your solution?
What makes you stand out as a product or business?

You might find the following template (by Tor Gronsund) helpful –
For (target customer), who has (customer need), (product name) is a (market category) that (one key benefit), unlike (competition),the product (unique differentiator)
Let’s go through the value prop for Airbnb and how their focus changed over-time
UVP1 — “Find a place to stay. Rent from people in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries”
UVP2 — “Welcome home. Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190 countries”
The new value proposition shows how the focus of Airbnb has shifted from rental business to Travel business — with an added emphasis on building a community around travelers where “Welcome Home = Belong Anywhere”.
UVP 3 — “Book Unique Homes and experience a city like a local”
This proposition illustrates their move into providing and selling experiences apart from the homes.
To help you recognize the features/benefits for building your value proposition, we’ll use Kano Model.
Kano Model
The Kano model helps in identifying and prioritizing user satisfaction and delight.
It was developed by Professor Noriaki Kano as a theory of customer satisfaction. The model provides a methodology to categorize your product functionality by how they affect the user experience.
It starts with the goal of Customer Satisfaction. Kano model proposes a scale that goes from extreme satisfaction (also called Delight) to extreme dissatisfaction (or Frustration).

You might think that you’d always want to be at the top of the satisfaction scale? However, that’s not possible. Learning more about the functionality would answer this question –
According to the Kano model, a feature of a product (or service) can fall into following categories:
In the below illustration of Kano model, the y-axis is customer satisfaction and x-axis is feature implementation.

Kano Model
Basic (Must-Have)
These are the nuts and bolts functions of any product — such as numeric keypad or dialer on your phone or something as simple as “Search” or “Sort by price” feature for a grocery shopping app.
When these basics are implemented extremely well, they produce a neutral response at best. This is because these are the features that customers take for granted. However, if the basics are implemented poorly, customers become dissatisfied.
For e.g., if there is a sort by price feature in a hotel booking app, that can never be the reason that would attract users; however, if the feature doesn’t work; it’s sure to attract negative reviews.
These features have a linear effect on customer satisfaction.
The Performance features are —
– Carefully evaluated by customers while making purchase
– Increases customer’s satisfaction with better implementation.
Consider following comments — “I wish my videos would upload faster” or “I want images to render immediately on arrival.”
Example of Performance feature – storage in Dropbox account, megapixels in your phone camera.
These are unexpected features which when presented to your customer causes a positive reaction. However, it wouldn’t have any impact if not included and the customer experience isn’t in any way negatively affected.
Delighters if executed well can possibly encourage a word-of-mouth recommendation.
These unmet needs can be the game-changers of your product. Users generally wouldn’t know that they want the features until they’ve experienced themselves.
Examples of Delighters are –
“Free Shipping for Amazon Prime members,” and “native emoji keyboard.”
These are the features which don’t make any real difference in the product.
Features, if present causes user dissatisfaction.


Toufiq Mahmud

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