If you’re reading this article, you’re probably curious about the ins and outs of the app development process and your role in it as a Product Owner. If we just hit the spot, keep on reading to learn:

  • What the product development process looks like
  • What’s the role of the Product Owner in the process
  • What is Scrum and how it helps you
  • The role of each team member
  • What are the goals of your team
  • Is the app development process completely transparent or are there some unanswered questions.

These are questions you should ask just to make sure you know what is going on in the project.

Background

We will first focus on how the development process looks like from a manager’s point of view. First of all, application development is complex and the whole process requires experience. There are several methods and frameworks which you can use in your own process, such as Waterfall, Agile, Critical Path Method, Rapid Applications Development.

Let’s focus mainly on Scrum because of its popularity- software development teams use it most often.

What is Scrum and why is it awesome?

Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together. It encourages the entire team to learn through experiences, self-organize while solving a problem, and reflect on their wins and losses to further improve.

Thanks to Scrum, we can:

  • Measure costs more accurately. We can be transparent and inform the client about the latest updates, the progress and time spent on development
  • Deliver a working product increment every 1-2 weeks
  • Have a flexible approach towards our client’s requirements and adjustments
  • Collect feedback from stakeholders and users more often

All in all, thanks to Scrum we can build a working product a lot faster.

Team roles and the role of the Product Owner

A typical development team that works in Scrum consists of the Product Owner, a team of Developers and a Scrum master. The team knows how to carry out the project and can do their work independently by being self-organized and cross-functional.

  • The Product Owner handles the WHAT
  • The Development Team handles the HOW
  • The Scrum Master handles the PROCESS

This is the typical division of responsibilities in the team. The most important thing for the entire team is the ‘WHAT’. Once that’s known, the Scrum Master can start the process.

On the team, there are developers who write the code, designers who create the mockups or prototypes (if you need a design), and testers who filter out any bugs during the process:

The assembly of scrum team

What should your client know about the process?

As a Product Owner make sure that your client is aware that:

  • The team can grow.
  • The team works on one project only.
  • Follow the rules, such as the one that you shouldn’t pay for onboarding a new dev.
  • There’s a Scrum Master on the team who keeps an eye on the progress and motivates the team
  • There’s a Project Manager on the team who manages the relationship between the team and your, the PO.

How is the work organized?

Let’s talk about Scrum Sprint & Events.

A Sprint is a period of time from 1-4 weeks in which a potentially usable Product Increment is created. In other words, it’s a particular period of time in which a product has to be delivered for review.

Every sprint begins immediately after the previous sprint ends. The Scrum Events are:

  1. Sprint Planning Meeting (WHAT-Meeting, HOW-Meeting)
  2. Daily Scrum Meeting
  3. Sprint Review Meeting
  4. Sprint Retrospective Meeting

What is Sprint Planning?

Sprint Planning it the planning, organization and decisions that determine what is going to take place during the new sprint. During this process, the team decides which tasks to do and makes sure that each member of the Sprint Team is ok with their role. The Product Owner should take part in the Sprint Planning.

What is Daily Scrum?

Short 10-15 minute daily meeting at which the Sprint Team discusses the ongoing progress of the project, talking about their current tasks and what they plan on doing next. The Product Owner doesn’t need to be at these meetings.

What is Sprint Refinement?

Also called Product Backlog Refinement is the process of continuously updating the backlog in an organized way. The process runs simultaneously with the whole sprint. It’s usually a good idea to hold this meeting halfway through the Sprint. In some organizations, various teams discuss everything about the backlog to keep everyone on the same page.

What is the Sprint Review?

A 1-hour meeting at the end of the sprint to review all tasks. Before the Sprint Review, it’s good to ask your team for an app demo to give you an idea of the final product. Plus, a detailed review of all tasks in the sprint, including hours spent and the difficulties that the team had. The Product Owner’s presence isn’t obligatory.

What is Sprint Retrospective?

A short meeting held after the Sprint Review during which the PO and the Team discuss ways to improve the current product by improving internal processes, such as communication with the PO. The goal of the Sprint Retro is:

  • To discuss how the work went during the sprint.
  • To find ways to improve the work in the next sprint.
  • o ask if anything can or needs to be changed.

Estimation of next functionalities

The next functionalities are discussed during Sprint Refinement meetings by means of story points. Story points are a unit of measure for expressing an estimate of the overall effort that will be required to fully implement a product backlog item or any other piece of work. The goal is to find out how many story points there will be and how many tasks can fit into the next sprint.

How often the app needs to undergo tests?
A new app is always tested after it’s ready and the least is once every sprint.

How long does the team wait for your feedback?

The best time for feedback is the review meetings. That’s when you and your team can discuss everything.

How to make sure that the app development process is fully transparent?

Here are some good practices you and your team can adopt to increase transparency:

  • A kickoff meeting is the first meeting with the project team and the client of the project. The meeting also provides the opportunity to discuss the role of team members.
  • As the Product Owner, you should be precise about the tools the team will use in the project. This helps to improve the efficiency of the process.
  • Jira Dashboard to help you organize the project.
  • A sprint Review Email is to stay up to date with the progress made along with future plans.
  • Tempo Timesheet: This is a Jira tracking tool. It helps you keep track of what the team works on.
  • Forecast & Change Management to avoid future issues. Here you can talk about things like the budget.
  • Dropbox /Google to keep and access all files in one place.

Wrap Up

This article should give you an idea of how the app development process works and how Scrum can be useful to you as the Product Owner. Not every software house applies all of these practices. However, the development process usually determines how successful your app will be. If you follow the processes and principles in this article, you can be sure that both you and your client will be happy with the final product.