Today we presented our paper Responsibilities and Challenges of Product Owners at Spotify at the Human Centred Software Engineering Conference at KTH in Stockholm. The paper is written together with Sigurhanna Kristinsdotti and Marta Larusdottir.
What did we do?
In 2014 we did a study at Spotify. They have used agile development since 2006, and they focus much on usability as their slogan is “It’s easy”. Spotify reached 39 million subscribers in 2016!
The main research questions in the paper were:
- What are the main responsibilities of the Product Owners
- What are the challenges of a Product Owner, and how does he or she cope with them?
What did we find?
- Most of them found it hard to mesure the value when developing new features
- Some Product Owners use the number of users as their main parameter of success
- To lead the vision was a difficult responsibility that Product Owners struggled with
- “I think it‘s important that the POs see to it that the team has a vision – that they know what it is – but i don‘t thing it is solely the PO who creates that vision, I think that the team does that together, but the PO is responsible for having it.“
The visions needs to be understood and appreciated by the teams, and the product owners do not want to use their authority to make decisions:
“You can ususally see when the team has set the goals as a whole rather than the goals being delivered from someone else.“
The main results
The Product Owner role is very diverse. The challenges are many, and the job is very multifaceted.
The Product Owners need to have one foot in the daily work of the Scrum teams, and one foot in the future.