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Engineer

Why Product Owner Participation Matters?

Jul 23, 2019

Learn how customer participation affects IT consulting and developing processes.

There are several models of cooperation of IT companies with customers. Each of these models defines the rights and obligations of the parties, but rarely takes into account the degree of involvement of the customer in the process of product development or consulting on the work of the entire company. Computools shares its method of cooperation with the customer at all stages of work.

Consulting and Improvements

Research shows that timely IT consulting helps increase productivity and profits in several times over a short period of time. Thus, the implementation of new technological solutions saves money for other profitable investments. The main goal of IT consulting is not to find mistakes, but to improve and optimize an existing system. Computools professionals always choose the best solution based on their experience and expert knowledge in various industries.

From the very beginning of cooperation, deep business research is conducted, which allows understanding the values, needs and main goals of the customer. Computools strives to stay on the same page with its customers at every stage of mutually beneficial cooperation. To achieve this, the customer is maximally involved in all stages of the workflow, starting with a discussion of the main ideas. In the future, he is positioned as a member of the team.

In some cases, consulting is the starting point for further close cooperation, as the process identifies issues and challenges that can be solved with the help of a Computools’ dedicated team. These include: optimization and automation of workflows, the implementation of cloud, AI and ML solutions, the development of individual solutions and tips for improving business. All this leads to increased profits, increased customers’ traffic and loyalty. Often, business transformations based on the report of the IT consulting team accelerate the growth and development of the client company.

Collaboration, team spirit and mutual aid

Consulting and Development Process

To ensure a comfortable collaboration for both parties, the work format is discussed and agreed in details in advance.

The method of cooperation of Computools company consists of several components. One of the first is the definition of the role of the customer (as a rule, the Product Owner). The overwhelming majority of companies consider the customer to be a kind of supervisory authority, from which it is necessary to obtain permits and confirmations to perform each action. In Computools, the Product Owner is considered as a member of the team who takes part in the development along with other members. The principal difference is that the Product Owner takes part directly in the discussion of the issue, listens to all the arguments and accepts the decision with the team, and does not approve the ready-made one.

The next component is the usage of terminology specific to each industry or narrow niche that the Product Owner occupies. In order to understand each other, the parties need to “speak” the same language, which means a deep knowledge of the specifics of the work and of the terminology itself. It happens that a narrow niche or a feature of the company does not allow it to use the services of third-party contractors. This cannot happen with the experts of Computools, who along with the constant increase in experience, increase their knowledge in various fields, as they strive not only to keep up with the time but to be ahead of it as well.

The third component is Product Owner involvement in meetings. A wide variety of meetings are held during the development and consulting process in close collaboration. The experts strive to conduct them as productively as possible and with the greatest benefit for the project, involving the Product Owner in discussions. Thus, many issues are solved at the stage of discussion, rather than directly executing the tasks, which significantly saves time and allows to get deeper into the essence of the project, understand the client and stay with him on the same wavelength. Here are some types of meetings.

Experts working on the project

  • Intro meetings. The introductory meeting helps to assess the Product Owners’ objectives and give them an overview of how Computools can help with their issue. As a rule, before this meeting, the team conducts a preliminary study and comes prepared by examining the current state of the company or future product.
  • The daily meeting is an integral part of Agile development, the main purpose of which is to increase the team’s efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. And since the Product Owner is also perceived as a member of the team, his presence is recommended.
  • Meeting with BA. Since the business analyst is one of the key figures in the development or consulting process, meetings with him should be regular. This allows the Product Owner to monitor the process, receive updated information in a timely manner and answer any questions that may arise.
  • Planning. The high level of professionalism and experience of the team allows to independently plan the scale of the project, set tasks and determine priorities. The presence of the Product Owner at such a meeting is not necessary, however, it allows to additionally make sure that the team works smoothly, with an understanding of their tasks and options.
  • Retrospective. During the retrospective, the team reflects on what happened in the iteration and identifies actions for improvement going forward. The team reflects on how everything went and then decides what changes they want to make in the next iteration. The retrospective is team-driven, and team members should decide together how decisions will be made about improvements. Such meetings allow the Product Owner to see the progress that has occurred in the project, which decisions were applied earlier, and which are outlined for the future.
  • Demo meetings. It’s a special time, usually at the end of each sprint, to show the Product Owner tangible results of the development. The team demonstrates a coded, tested and, most importantly, usable piece of software to the customer.

The Computools team is always trying to make the cooperation as convenient as possible for all its members, which means that if the Product Owner cannot attend the meeting, the project manager agrees upon the scope and scheduling meeting in a time convenient for everyone. As a rule, the schedule of meetings is made at the very beginning of cooperation, however, necessary adjustments can be made in the process. Also, the duration of each meeting is determined in advance, as every minute must be spent efficiently.

Thanks to the usage of this method at each stage of our cooperation, Computools maintains mutual understanding with the client and accomplishes the task the most accurate way. This way has several unobvious advantages, for example, saving time on receiving approvals or coordinating actions with the Product Owner – our partner is always aware of what is happening and is directly involved in the process. This eliminates the need to conduct lengthy correspondence and provide additional explanations. What is more, such close cooperation inspires the team, allowing developers to think more broadly and offer more courageous and effective solutions. As a result, the project is carried out in compliance with the deadlines, more effectively and efficiently.

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