Role Descriptions

Description of the Product Owner role

The Scrum product owner is seen as the project's key stakeholder. Amongst the Product Owner responsibilities is to have a vision of what needs to be build, and convey that vision to the team. His or her role is to motivate the team with a clear, elevating goal. This is paramount to successfully starting any agile software development project.

The Product Owner could be a lead user of the system or a marketing officer, a product manager or anyone with a solid understanding of the users, market place, competition and future trends for the domain where the product is to be developed for.

The Product Owner role requires business savviness and communication skills. The Product Owner needs to be available for the team on a daily basis. They need to be committed to do whatever is necessary to build the best product possible.

Business savviness is important for the Agile Product Owner because he/she is the decision maker regarding to what features the product will have. That means, the Agile Product Owner should understand the market, the customer and the business in order to make a sound decision.

The product should be a good communicator. The Product Owner role requires working closely with key stakeholders throughout the organization and beyond, so he/she must be able to communicate different messages to different people about the project at any given time.

Description of the System Analyst role

The System Analyst oversees the products from a requirements perspective and comes with skills to make sure that the functionality delivered is complete and covers the features promised. He/she makes sure non functional requirements are well translated in the backlog and in the definition of done. Requirements analysts come with several techniques to elicit requirements and run feature workshops. By making clear to what extend stakeholder needs are fulfilled, they are able to align stakeholders on the features to be developed.

Description of the Business Analist role

According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a Business Analyst works as a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and to recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals. The most important element is the business focus; ensuring business needs are understood and communicated, so that problem solutions meet the business needs and goals. Solutions may be IT related, non-IT related, or some combination of the two. The Business Analyst is responsible for eliciting the actual needs of stakeholders (not simply their expressed desires) and often plays a central role in aligning the capabilities delivered by information technology with the needs of business units.

Description of the Project Manager role

As the organization goes agile, certain aspects of your role remain essentially unchanged, such as:

  • Managing budgets – if project or department budgets fall under your oversight, you’ll still need to manage them. While you may see certain line items and allocations change as agile processes are tested and implemented, the basic budgetary process won’t.
  • Recruiting, hiring and firing – while your view of optimal candidates may adjust as you see what type of person works best within your organization’s Agile framework, the basic recruiting functions will still be yours to manage.
  • Setting expectations, best practices – as an Agile leader, you’re team will still look to you for benchmarking and monitoring expectations, periodic reviews, and adherence to cultural and technical best practices.
  • Managing the work done by third parties – setting expectations, boundaries, timelines, acceptance criteria.
  • Putting out fires – inevitably, problems will occasionally arise that the individual or the team will not be able to solve on their own. As the manager, it’s still your responsibility to take that ball and run with it so everyone can get back to work.

Description of the Product Manager role

The Product Manager is an important role, especially in a technology company. It is similar to a Brand Manager at a consumer goods company. The Product Manager is often considered the director of the product and is responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition of that product. The position often also includes marketing, forecasting, and profit and loss responsibilities.

The Product Manager analyzes the market and competitive conditions and creates a product vision that is differentiated, and delivers unique value based on customer demands. The role of a Product Manager includes activities from strategic to tactical and at requires leadership and bridging gaps within the company between different functions, most notably between engineering-oriented teams, sales and marketing, and support.

The Product Manager is the person responsible for defining the ‘why’, ‘what,’ and ‘when’ of the product that the engineering team will build. They are the directors of their product which means they lead cross-functional teams from a product's conception all the way through its launch.