For a few months now we have been running a popular column ‘decoding’ technical professions in order to inspire and explain what they really mean. We often get misunderstood when it comes to our jobs, that’s why we wanted to make them easier to explain. We published articles about Front End Developers and Back End Developers, Big Data Specialist, Tester, UI / Graphic Designer and Creative Technologist. Today it’s time to chat to our own Product Owner – Julien Bernard.
Product Owner: Julien Bernard
Hello Julien – what is your job really about?
Product Owner (PO) is in charge of a chosen product vision. He/she is a person who needs to not only meet client’s expectations but also convey them to internal teams. Then he/she develops the product and maintains it accordingly. Working collaboratively with internal teams and decision makers he/she makes choices when it comes to new features to add to the product and decides what is feasible to deliver. This work is different to what project managers do as is follows a horizontal hierarchy collaborative way of working with teams.
What’s your typical daily task?
I spend most of my time in meetings with teams discussing what has already been done and what is in progress and to be delivered. The work to do will depend on time allocated to the realisation of the development of features such as in our case a new content enrichment, new widgets etc. On top of this everyday my tasks are a mix of: product vision work, future releases, external clients requests gathering, planning next versions of the product (in my case mobile apps) and finally preparation of teams demonstration showcasing all they have managed to achieve and then writing up how the new feature will work. For example I am working on adding features or improving an existing one (new widget, new research tool, a enrichment.)
What’s exciting about your job?
There are many things! Firstly it’s exciting to think how and where my work can lead the product to. I can be creative and imagine endless possibilities. I also like exchanging with teams about what will be added and how to make it happen. We are all working together to create a product which we’re all proud of. And finally it’s amazing to see the evolution from the very beginning and to be able to realise how far we came to its current version.
What’s most difficult?
It’s difficult to make choices about what will be added first. It is often hard to figure out what functionalities are the most expected versus the most useful ones. And it’s not easy to deal with technical and time constraints and finding solutions to meet the expected level of quality.
What kind of training and skills you need to become Product Owner?
You have to know how to work with a team and how to use the agile method (scrum). In this way you will optimise each part of the work. You have to be curious, well-organised, patient, open-minded but demanding, and have a long-term vision.
How do you think your job will evolve in the future?
The role of POs are and will be essential for running projects. But it will continue evolving following evolution of the agile methodology. They are here to meet clients expectations and to offer ultimate experience to final users.
What makes a Product Owner laugh?
“That’s not a bug but an improvement”. That’s what developers often tell me when I request existing product modifications and improvements and they don’t have time to do it.