[INTERVIEW] A Product Owner Story to Creating A Successful Platform
Product owners are the key players of every product development cycle. They are the managers of vision, strategy, and tactical execution associated with product development. They are the leaders, who are guiding the progress of the product and managing the development team toward success.
The product owner researches user pain points and needs, analyzes the competitive landscape, and develops feature lists. Moreover, they are responsible for maintaining the integrity and the quality of the final deliverable product.
In this article, you will gain expert insight into the role of Sales.Rocks’ scrum product owner, Olgica. She elaborates the process of building a B2B SaaS marketing enablement platform, and explains what it takes to be a successful product owner.
Olgica, you are the product owner of Sales.Rocks platform. Can you elaborate on the process of creating the platform and your role in it?
“I’ve joined the company a few months after the idea for Sales.Rocks was born, and I’ve been a part of this incredible journey for 6 months already. My role as a scrum Product Owner includes defining product vision, roadmap, and growth opportunities for the platform. My everyday work includes planning and prioritizing Product Backlog items, and organizing the work of the development team towards delivering a functional sales automation platform. Based on stakeholder’s feedback, industry trends, and competitor analysis, I’m providing backlog management and iteration planning.”
How do you organize your everyday tasks?
“I start the day with the Daily Huddle meeting where I get updated on the working progress of the Development Team. That helps me understand how we are progressing with the planned tasks and what the team should work on next. Afterwards, I’m dedicating my time on market research and checking industry trends, as a necessary thing for prioritizing things. I’m also having regular meetings with the Sales & Marketing team to give them updates on the platform, and also taking feedback that impacts the work organization of the Development team. During the day, I’m reviewing the Product Backlog and adding new user stories for additional functionalities and prioritizing items we want to have, sooner rather than later, on the platform.”
What was the biggest challenge while creating Sales.Rocks platform?
“There are always many challenges when you are building a platform from scratch. You want to have a tech product that your customers will love, and that will be easy to use, but on the other hand, you want to have a stable and reliable platform. So, what should your focus on first? The biggest challenge, so far, was having a solid technical architecture as a background that will enable our platform to be scalable and serve millions of users, and building a database that would be constantly updated. For the developing of the Sales.Rocks’ platform we are using the Scrum model of agile software development, which means the project progresses via a series of sprints, normally, each lasting two weeks.”
How do you handle unexpected bugs and technical issues?
“Our platform is still not active, although we are just before launching, thus all the unexpected bugs are actually helping us to make the platform better. We have a dedicated QA who is constantly testing the platform with different use cases so we can be sure once we launch the platform, it will work bugless. In order to avoid technical debt that will lead to unexpected bugs and behaviors, we are doing a frequent code review so we can be sure we have a clean code for everything that was developed on the platform.”
What are you doing as a scrum product owner to increase the chances of delivering a high-value product?
“I’m always putting myself in Client’s shoes. I’m always thinking what will bring value to the Client, is the platform easy enough for using, what functionality will amaze the Client, and what will be the thing that will convince the Client that our platform can be their best business partner.”
Who are your product’s key stakeholders?
“The key stakeholder of the platform is the whole team of Sales.Rocks, especially the Sales & Marketing team who are actively using the platform, and also the clients who are using a beta version of the platform. Their feedback is the most valuable input for building an amazing platform as we expect Sales.Rocks to be.”
Product owners are people with a clear vision for the future of the product. Where do you see Sales.Rocks platform in a year?
I see Sales.Rocks as the most reliable partner on every B2B company in Europe. My vision is that we’ll have a stable platform that offers accurate information and that companies will enjoy using it.
What does it take to create a quality, user-friendly product?
“It takes a passion for the product, listening to what your stakeholders are saying, following what your competitors are doing, and a reliable Development team that is always eager to do more.”