gap intelligence isn't just a company that preaches personal and professional growth, gap intelligence makes that a reality. gappers are encouraged to attend internal and external classes, read and share books, and check out different companies and conferences. The possibilities are endless. In my 5+ years at gap, I have benefited from several of these opportunities for growth and development. Whether it was learning more about football tactics and helping me draft a killer fantasy football team or attending a 3-day workshop to become a certified Scrum Product Owner, I've learned and grown a lot. While I could go on and on about fantasy football and the waiver wire, drafting, and transfers I don't want to give away all of my secrets so instead I will focus on what I've learned about being a Product Owner.

Let's Start at the Beginning

The Agile methodology has been around since the late '80s and in 2001 the Agile Manifesto was published. So while, Agile development isn't brand new, gap's adoption of Agile and embracing best practices is relatively recent. Luckily, we have a killer development team and Scrum Master to help us navigate and learn all of the intricacies of Agile and Scrum. The three main components of an Agile team are the Product Manager, Product Owner, and Development Team.

Product Owner responsibilities

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What do Product Owners Do?

While I love infographics and charts that make everything look easy and straightforward, I've learned that a Product Owner does so much more than just stick to a list of bullets that outlines their responsibilities. My biggest takeaways about the roles and responsibilities so far are:

  1. Product Owners are responsible for the maintaining the order of the backlog (an ordered list of features with acceptance criteria describing desired functionality). Product Owners must prioritize the backlog according to business value and ROI, which sounds much easier than it actually is!
  2. Product Owners build and maintain long term roadmaps of future development work. Not only do these roadmaps need to be maintained, but they must also be shared with everyone including the Development Team and stakeholders. This ensures that the entire team understands the vision and direction for future projects.
  3. Product Owners act as the translator from users and stakeholders to the Development Team. They must understand the needs and wants of customers and the business to create user stories that will allow the Development Team to build valuable solutions and features.
  4. Product Owners keep users and stakeholders up-to-date on all of the magic being performed by the Development Team. They are involved with Scrum ceremonies such as daily standups, retrospectives, and planning meetings. Product Owners communicate with stakeholders and users and answer any questions they may have.

Continuing Education

For simplicity sake, there is a lot detail that I omitted from the list above and I have a lot to learn about the ins and outs of being an awesome Product Owner. Luckily, at gap intelligence there is a great Agile team in place that constantly collaborates, exchanges knowledge, and fosters an environment of continuous learning. We also have an in-office library with a plethora of books about marketing, product management, Agile, and so much more. So whether it’s from a book, class, or fellow gapper, I know that I will be able to grow and learn as a Product Owner and hopefully I will be able to impart some knowledge on others. Just don't ask me to share my fantasy football secrets!