How do you develop the mindset and skills needed to be a successful software product owner?
In a technology organization, (software vendor, tech startup) product owners tend to come out of a technology background. They are ex-developers, ex-architects and sometimes ex-sales engineers.
In a non-technology enterprise (a normal company) the product owner is more likely to come out of a business background. In client facing software products, that background is likely to be marketing or business product management. For internal facing software products that background is likely to be that of a business practitioner, or a business analyst.
Regardless of background, product owners need to be able to do the following activities:
- organize stakeholders into specific communities based on desire for specific value delivery.
- sell the existing value propositions of the product into the stakeholder communities.
- elicit new value propositions for the product from the stakeholder communities.
- distill problem statements / value deficiencies from specific feedback from stakeholders.
- maintain a prioritized/sequenced backlog of deliverables, contemplating the sponsoring stakeholder community, value proposition and business strategy.
- sell/explain business value propositions to technical team.
- evaluate whether proposed technology solutions add the value expected by stakeholders.
- develop high level test cases for acceptance for each deliverable.
Maybe there are some additional things, but this is the core list. You can see that depending on background, some might gravitate to activities from this list that are more comfortable. Training product owners is about helping them grow abilities to perform outside their comfort zone.