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What Value Does a Product Owner Bring to a Project?

Key in scrum software development, Product Owners guide the project’s vision and team communication to create the most successful deliverables. The Product Owners (PO’s) at VentureDevs have often been described as “the team’s quarterback” by clients who understand their immense value.

Never worked with a Product Owner before? Many of our clients find themselves in that very position when they start working with VentureDevs. So, we sat down with Stephen Quenzer, the Director of DevOps at LifeCents (an award-winning financial education app and multiyear VentureDevs client), to talk about just how big of an impact their VentureDevs Product Owner had on their project.

VD: What was your Product Owner’s biggest value-add to your project?

  • SQ: Our PO, Magda G., proactively ensured that everything was planned out well in advance, by identifying dependencies and potential roadblocks, and then working to solve those proactively. In software development, if you miss one thing, it could end up delaying the whole project by weeks, which costs extra money and resources. So, being able to meticulously plan and make sure all of the t’s were crossed and the i’s were dotted was very valuable.

VD: Some people might feel concerned that an external PO is taking over their job. Did you ever have those feelings at the beginning?

  • SQ: I did not initially expect to have a person who would be directly managing the development team in my stead. But, I have found that to be incredibly invaluable because I'm taking care of several major roles within a company, and already have to wear so many hats. Having our VentureDevs PO take over some of my responsibilities, allows me to focus on the higher-level stuff, while making sure I’m just supporting her. Although I didn’t expect her to take such a central role at the beginning, it was never really an issue. In fact, it was kind of a blessing in disguise.

VD: What do you think it would have been like having to manage the entire development team without a PO?

  • SQ: Initially, I thought that it was probably a waste of money. I thought: “I can handle this team. Why would we pay for an additional resource who's basically taking over what I'm already doing?” But looking back, there is absolutely no way I could have done it successfully without our VentureDevs PO. Given my own time and resource constraints, it would have been impossible to manage the team by myself without taking me away from my other responsibilities.

    From a time zone perspective, a language perspective, and even probably a cultural one, our PO was invaluable because she was able to make sure that everybody was doing what they needed to and they were able to ask questions and get them answered efficiently. Since I was pulled in so many different directions, I would not have been able to do that for the team.

    Our PO was one of those people who can proactively determine issues ahead of time. She was able to answer questions on our behalf because she really knows and understands our business context. Her ability to tackle questions and issues immediately was key in streamlining the process, which is particularly important for a remote team.

You can read more about LifeCents’ VentureDevs experience on Clutch.

How can your product benefit from a Product Owner?

From helping analyze goals, users, and market value to prioritizing features, setting up effective workflows, managing an ongoing backlog and acting as master problem solver, the PO is one of the most raved about teammates across our client projects.

An often undervalued role outside of software development, we see the Product Owner as a central character to ensuring our clients’ success. If you are ready to find out how a PO will benefit your next software project, reach out to our team for a free tech consultation.