Late last year I earned my Certified Scrum Product Owner certification. What does that mean? It means that I am terribly agile. Earlier in the fall of 2013, I started working on a new project to help develop and co-sponsor a new website supported by a new, custom-built learning and content management system (LCMS).
Needless to say that my introduction to the Scrum process and all the ceremonies was a bit like baptism by fire. Daily calls, sprint reviews, sprint planning, story time…so many meetings! But I liked the ability to develop this agile approach to identifying the minimal viable product (or MVP for those that are acronym inclined) and how that line can constantly shift or change every sprint.
Having this basic foundation of how Scrum differs from waterfall development was further supported when I read Marty Cagan’s “Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love.” Since the company restructured many of the development teams to follow the agile development philosophy, I thought reading this book would help support my own professional development and give me insight into where lines were drawn between roles and functions.
For a time, I straddled the line between project sponsor for our new Advice & Resources website and part-time product owner, writing user stories for our development team and brainstorming with the other POs for the contingencies of planning out different parts of this site like:
- Integrating registration with an existing user profile from our core matrix
- Migration of content and SEO repercussions of switching content repositories
- Admin management, including roles and permissions
- Content and media management
But the other tricky part was that with my marketing hat, I also realized that MVP had to be valuable to users – it couldn’t just be a functional product, it had to add something to a user’s experience or be unique to what they can find today.
Aside from all of those hefty ideas was also navigating (and still navigating) the internal politics of incorporating ancillary content (like articles, videos, graphics, etc.) into the general user experience for highly active job seekers on CareerBuilder.com. The challenge has always been to leverage content once user activity drops off to encourage long-term relationships and lifelong advice for job search and advancement.
The visuals below come from an internal team blog that I posted during ongoing development of a new content site that I was sponsoring and spearheading.
I could go on and on about what Scrum has taught me and what I love and sometimes loath about the process itself but I think that it’s a much more realistic approach to reaching goals in bite-sized pieces.