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Become a Product Owner: Dedicate yourself to being the voice of the customer!

Vasile PUTINA
CTO Pentalog Software Factory & Agile Coach

The role of an Agile Product Owner is beyond the ordering of the Backlog. A Product Owner, who takes full responsibility for the product and has full authority over it, can become the Product CEO, the most experienced type of PO. An Agile Product Owner will also actively participate in the process of defining project vision and anticipating client needs. It’s a complex role with a lot of challenges.

To get a better understanding of this term, Agile enthusiasts participated in our Product Owner Academy: Go PO!. What they learned at this Pentalog training changed their own perspectives and the mentors’ as well.

Go PO! program: ideas becoming reality

Organizers of the Product Owner Academy rigorously selected applicants, as a result, we had both actual Pentalog employees and professionals from other organizations. Most of them were exposed to related fields like business analysis or project management, and beginner product owners and Agile-minded enthusiasts were also welcome.

Our sessions were coordinated by competent cross-agency mentors in various positions, which helped mentees get a broader understanding of this role in an Agile environment.

“My perspective is that this was a great success, both for the mentors and for the mentees. I absolutely enjoyed being part of this, and I would definitely do it again. There were some serious challenges, thus making the process an interesting learning experience for everyone. Thanks to all of you guys for the effort that you have put in, and I hope to see you all soon. Cheers.” Calin, Mentor

Given our program’s flexibility, we decided that mentees would work on their own product ideas. It allowed them to be fully engaged in the process and passionate about the result.

Becoming an Efficient Product Owner Means Starting Small While Thinking Big

Right from the start, our goal was to pack this program with valuable information and hands-on experience that could be applied on a day-to-day basis. We chose the most practical method of presenting the information: combining presentations on each topic with workshops accompanied by relevant e-learning resources to help them grasp essential concepts. Participants used their creative thinking & experimented with the provided information at practical sessions: Product Discovery & elicitation techniques Vision/ Elevator Pitch/ Lean Canvas; Personas/ Empathy Mapping/ Customer Journey Maps; Agile Release; and Prototyping.

“I really enjoyed being part of a real professional team with great ideas and helpful solutions. Having around people with such a vast experience was priceless! Now my “north star” has become clearer. I love being part of this great community! I will certainly be in touch. Thanks, Pentalog for everything!” Radu, Mentee

Presenting the core foundations of product ownership was a good way to spark our attendees’ interest and elicited sophisticated questions during group mentoring sessions. We had an amazing opportunity to host cross-agency sessions with mentors from the USA, Romania and, obviously, Moldova. The academy was marked by our skilled mentors: Product Owners, Scrum Masters, an Agile Coach, and a US Growth Hacking specialist.

product owner - po academy pentalog

Each one of them, having quite different positions, managed to share their experience and what perks they have discovered in the process.

The intention of each meeting was to simulate through practical workshops real processes & challenges a Product Owner on an Agile project handles daily.

“Interesting and fascinating experience. Really enjoyed communication with mentors, participants. The Product Owner Training gave me a better understanding of Product Discovery, Backlog Management, Release planning. A lot of tools, practices, cases – everyone found something he did not know, I guess. The good thing is that you can always ask a question, which appeared in your own practice – and experienced mentors will share their experience and will explain how they performed in similar situations.” Vitalie, Mentee

At the same time, our trainers had meetings with each mentee individually during weekly 1-to-1 sessions, allowing them to overcome deadlocks & clarify significant details face-to-face with seasoned Product Owners. Participants took advantage of it while they were getting ready for the final leg of the training: Demo Day.

A New Career. A New Start – What’s Next?

After wrapping up all the sessions, it was time to see the results of the participants’ intensive work. During the Demo Day mentees presented 9 visions of their products that exceeded our highest expectations. By the end of the program, they knew exactly what the product should do and how they can deliver tangible product features. Yet, we still have so much more work to do.

Those who join once our PentaFamily stay here: the best non-Pentalog mentees from PO Academy will get a job at Pentalog. Those who were already a part of the team will continue their Product Owner roadmaps with their long-term mentors.

Product Owner journey: learn, experiment & innovate!

For our enthusiasts, the Product Owner journey doesn’t stop here. Helping your team to deliver sustainable solutions for the client is not an easy thing to do but a PO should work for it every day. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of customers, the client and your team requires more than knowledge and experience. Well-defined goal and a long-term vision for the product makes a great difference, it separates skilled Product Owners from the rest. Having these two in addition to 4 soft skills make a successful PO:

  • Communication abilities

  • Commitment

  • Assuming responsibility for every decision

  • Curiosity

We are sure that our mentors managed to provide a solid base for everyone who joined Go PO! Program. Mentees have gone through a professional evolution as well as personality growth. Now think for a second: could you pull it off?

And, Pentalog’s answer is always a loud “Yes”. So, don’t wait for tomorrow when you can start today!

Join our team to have plenty of growth opportunities!


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