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Product Owners Guide

Project Stakeholder Expectations

  • Be Committed: We are dedicated to your project and we expect that you share that focus. Be prepared to commit at least 8 hours and up to 30 per week working alongside our team. Be clear with us when you’re working on the project. Be present in Slack/Basecamp and during Retrospectives.
  • Take Ownership of Feature Priority: You'll work together with our team to define and prioritize the work to be done. While we expect to have input, you have ownership of and responsibility for what is being worked on.
  • Run Acceptance Regularly: We expect clients to run through acceptance on a regular cadence. This is your last chance (they'll have been asking for it along the way too) to provide concrete feedback before the feature is deployed to users. Clearly communicate if something doesn't match what you expected and move it back to Next Up. If the work matches the acceptance criteria, celebrate it!
  • Communicate Between Secondary Stakeholders: When there are secondary stakeholders who are not part of the day-to-day, you are the primary conduit of communication between those secondary stakeholders and our team. You should regularly communicate to secondary stakeholders what the product team is working on and why, and regularly communicate any feedback from the secondary stakeholders back to us.

Team Communication Expectations

  • Collaborative: We work collaboratively, and are excited to work openly and closely with you and your team. Everyone on the team should understand the problems that we’re solving. No knowledge should be siloed.
  • Respectful & Transparent: Everyone on the team should talk transparently to each other. Hiding concerns or anxiety only makes hard conversations harder. Let’s address issues, together, as they come up. Respect regular working hours.
  • Clear & Direct: The clearer we communicate, the faster that we’ll be able to move on your project. Be direct in feedback. Speak through the lens of problems and your customers.
  • Friendly: We enjoy helping you solve problems for your customers. Our personality and energy will show through in our communication, we hope to see yours as well.

Process Overview

  • Work in small releasable features: Together, we’ll break down work to the smallest possible features that can be delivered independently. This allows the team to work rapidly collecting feedback early. It allows us to adjust quickly to new priorities and insights.
  • Daily Standups: Either on a video call (for 5-10 minutes) or in Slack/Campfire. We’ll quickly sum up what we did yesterday, what we plan on doing today, and if we have any blockers to our work.
  • Weekly Retrospectives: At the end of each week we’ll talk about how that week went. Each person will talk about wins we had as a team, how we feel on the project, and what concerns they have. We’ll then talk about the concerns as a group and discuss action items to resolve those concerns.
  • Weekly Project Planning: As a team, we’ll take a look at our project management tool. We’ll discuss features that are currently being worked on and what is at the top of Next Up. During this meeting, we’ll develop a team understanding of the next problems that we’re trying to solve. Typically, these happen after Retrospectives.
  • Adaptation: We’ll adapt to the needs of the product and team.

Tools overview

  • Project Management & Messaging (Trello/Basecamp): A place for us to understand what the current prioritized features are, and why they're prioritized that way, and to asynchronously communicate around them.
  • Short Conversation (Slack/Campfire): Short form text, question and answer, non-important conversations. Anything longer form should be put into the Project management tool.
  • Video Conference (Meet/Zoom): We use video conferencing regularly for our meetings both scheduled and unscheduled. We’re able to hash out ideas, problems, issues, and solutions faster synchronously. Once meetings are over, decisions should be added to the Project Management tool.
  • Code Versioning & Management (GitHub): We’ll communicate about details of implementation and code on GitHub. We do our work in branches, we’ll review code in Pull Requests (PRs) and commit code to a main branch.
  • Design Collaboration (Figma/Invision/Abstract): We’ll talk about visual design, user experience, and facilitate asynchronous design feedback.

Talk to one of our product experts about building success into your process.

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