Product Owner Wishlist

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Once the Product Owner knows the product inside and out, it's much easier to tackle the other main area of accountability - the Product Backlog management.

The Product Backlog is a list of everything that the Product Owner wishes to have done within the product. It is a set of their expectations for the product (and also for the Developers that build it). The Product Owner manages this list, ie. creates requirements, modifies them, deletes the unnecessary ones, and put them in the right order.

Let's consider an example. Our product is a website. What elements can the Product Backlog contain?

It could be a new functionality on the website, e.g:

  • adding a password recovery feature
  • adding a user login system
  • implementing 24/7 chat with a consultant

But also non-functional items, e.g:

  • changing fonts and colours to match the new brand
  • updating product photos
  • refreshing the "about us" text

OK, that was easy. But what does the Product Backlog look like outside of the IT world? Let's consider an interesting case taken from the experience of one of our trainers. This time, the product was the safety of employees on an oil and gas production platform.

Yes, the product was the safety of the employees. It was also a value that the Product Owner was maximising. What was in his Product Backlog? Here are a few examples:

  • purchasing new helmets (that included research, collecting bids, finalising purchases, and distributing helmets to employees)
  • updating procedure #32863 to align with the latest WHO requirements
  • removing large equipment from corridor 3C on platform 2 that was disrupting the traffic flow

And that was the wish list of this PO, which he bravely managed and put in order.

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