The Reason Why Projects Succeed (or Fail), and Why You Need a Product Owner

Discover who can make your project soar, and the guide to recognize & hire them effectively.

Written by
June 3, 2022
Tech Recruiter

Are missed deadlines, lost pertinent project leads and experts, miscommunicated teams, and kanban tasks on the verge of going haywire sounding too real to be a nightmare? What if you knew that there was an important key to a smoothly run project? Well, that key is not a mystical being, but the right Product Owner profile.

Reminisce to the time when you had to do a group project. Maybe it was high school or college. The messy to-do’s, the Pareto distribution of responsibility where who took them had to do almost everything on their own for the sake of the project's success (I believe that here is the birthplace of most micromanagers, by the way). Complete and utter chaos. Flash forward a couple of years: Now projects don’t count for grades but revenue, and you answer to clients and stakeholders. Here is where most insert a nervous laugh. To ensure that all goes according to plan, as an orchestra needs a maestro, a project needs a Product Owner.

Picture this: Happy and productive teams, seamless communication, carefully managed resources, up-to-date deadlines and satisfied stakeholders. It sounds like a dream come true and it can be, even for big and complex projects. The key to this is unmatched leadership belonging to the almighty Product Owner.

The “owner” in P.O. is not just for looks. They encompass most of the responsibilities in a project. They personally answer to both success and failure. This is why they have authority to make critical decisions. They are the ones that build the vision and are fully accountable for it. Here’s a full list of their sole responsibilities:

  • Manage and prioritize the product’s backlog
  • Translate project managers’ strategies to tasks for development
  • Study the market and customers’ needs
  • Connect product with development
  • Be accessible for any arising questions, problems & inputs
  • Have the vision and the scope of the project 
  • Promote and maintain the team’s encouragement and motivation
  • Align the goals of the organization with the project
  • Secure funds from sponsors & advocate for resources
  • Display the value of the project to both team members and stakeholders
  • Give feedback on all ends of the project
  • Boost team morale by congratulating achieved goals

There is a considerable amount of work when overlooking a P.O.’s position. After all, managing a project’s backlog while overlooking a team can be complicated. A lot can backfire in between sprints, phases and tasks. However, there are 5 essential triggers that can aid in averting unwanted drawbacks.

Keep the team motivated 

This is an ESSENTIAL point. If they can pass on a sense of purpose, the team has a why. This will boost the team’s energy and productivity, probably increasing the end-quality of the project.

Be clear and straight-forward with information

Clarity is the wheel to steer the project into the right direction within the ideal timeframe.

Trust your experts

There is an interesting element present when autonomy is given, that is responsibility. It shows that the team member’s skills and knowledge are valued. When this happens, the trusted person tends to give their best. Micromanaging is always a big no. Not only do you demean the quality of the work, but it leads to a bitter and offended team.

Possess chameleonic adaptability 

P.O.’s are the linchpin to a project. Being adaptable is key to maintain it relevant, optimize resources and excel time management. When all goes berserk, they are the ones that grab all strings and rearrange accordingly (or swing to the rescue, depending on what is needed).

To wrap it up, the ideal Product Owner for your project knows how to identify problems and prevent them, is excited and knows how to lift and inspire people, is an admirable communicator, knows how to empathize and actively listen, has an eagle’s eyesight to perceive beyond the norm, and is open to adapt as necessary.

Does this sound like someone you need on your team? Reach out to us, we are experts in talent acquisition. Want to know more about us? Then get in touch so we can schedule a call.

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