In a Software Development Team the Product Owner plays the role of the Team Protector, it mains responsibility its to keep the Backlog full of Prioritized User Stories, so that the team members can go ahead and start grabbing and tasking into detail the stories.
However there is the other face of the coin, from whom is the Product Owner receiving all the input needed in order to be able to create and maintain a sustainable pile of work for the team members?
Business System Ownership (BSO) is under represented in the cannon of IT methods. The focus of system ownership in published best practice is primarily geared towards technical system ownership or operational user involvement in system management processes. Furthermore, the transition of IT systems projects to business ownership, post systems launch, is focused primarily on project closure activity. In practice project closure can be undertaken to the detriment of planning for on-going system success. Legacy systems present a particular challenge to IT departments in terms of ongoing business engagement. Typically there will be an under representation of business managers at the right level of the organisation able to provide the required strategic direction and focus required by IT departments to support and maintain systems. As a result, IT can become the de-facto “owners” of the system, discharging their technical responsibilities, but often (understandably) not undertaking many (business) tasks that underpin the future success, even viability, of the system. At best a lack of engaged business owners can result in a potential misalignment of IT resources and priorities. At worst, long-term system viability itself can be compromised by a lack of effective business system ownership as cost control, data management, security, end user training and business process alignment can all drift as systems “age”.
According to DSDM Agile Project approach:
Business owner is defined as Business Visionary
This is a senior project-level business role that should be held by a single individual, since a project needs a single clear vision to avoid confusion and misdirection. More actively involved than the Business Sponsor, the Business Visionary is responsible for interpreting the needs of the Business Sponsor, communicating these to the team and, where appropriate, ensuring they are properly represented in the Business Case. The Business Visionary remains involved throughout the project, providing the team with strategic direction and ensuring that the solution delivered will enable the benefits described in the Business Case to be achieved. At the end of the project, the Business Visionary will own the Deployed Solution and will be responsible for the realisation of any benefits associated with it.
- Defining the business vision for the project
- Communicating and promoting the business vision to all interested and/or impacted parties
- Monitoring progress of the project in line with the business vision
- Owning the wider implications of any business change from an organisational perspective
- Contributing to key requirements, design and review sessions, particularly where aspects of the solution being considered address key elements of the business vision Identifying and owning business-based risk
- Defining, and approving changes to, the high-level requirements in the Prioritised Requirements List, i.e. any change that affects the baselined scope or significantly alters the balance of priorities
- Ensuring collaboration across stakeholder business areas within the scope of the project
- Ensuring business resources are available to the project as needed
- Promoting the translation of the business vision into working practice, i.e. ensuring full business adoption of the solution created by the project
- Empowering the business roles within the Solution Development Team, to appropriate levels, within their responsibilities
- Where the Solution Development Team cannot agree, acting as an arbiter of business differences related to the business need and the way this is addressed in the Evolving Solution