27 November 2019

Why we love clients who (literally) look over our shoulder

Our secret to success is heavily dependent on client involvement, in fact, our workflow depends on it. We bring the knowledge and expertise on how to build custom software products, but we expect our clients to help define what needs to be built. That definition can (and often does) change throughout the course of the engagement as everyone (including the client) gains a better understanding of what needs to be built. Developing the definition, or as we refer to it, “scope,” requires commitment of time and effort on the client’s part as they fulfill their role as a Product Owner.

What does a Product Owner do?

There are four roles of a Product Owner, and we ask them to dedicate 10-20 hours per week to the project, 50-60% of that time being spent with our development team. Now don’t let your eyes open too wide hearing those numbers - it’s important to point out that the Product Owner is not a Project Manager. Collectively, the team responsible for managing the people on the project and the schedule of when work is completed. Instead, we want the Product Owner focused on helping us discover, define, and refine the best product possible by:

  1. Expertise - Provide us with domain expertise
  2. Goals - Define the business goals for the work in order to maintain focus
  3. Acceptance - Test completed work to determine if it is acceptable (meets the goal)
  4. Prioritization - Prioritize remaining work based on business value

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how that time will be spent:

Client/Team interactions:

  1. 2-3 days for project kick-off - [Expertise, Goals, Prioritization]
  2. 15-30 mins/day for a daily progress meeting (“standup”) - [Prioritization, Goals]
  3. 30-60 mins/wk for planning meetings - [Goals, Prioritization]
  4. Messages/communication throughout the day - [ALL]
  5. 30 mins/wk for retrospectives aka “retros” to improve product delivery
  6. Account setups and granting access to required business resources
  7. Client education on the software development process

Client work:

  1. Acceptance testing (3-5 cards/wk, 1-5 hrs/wk) - [Acceptance]
  2. Work within organization (getting approvals/buy-in, etc)
  3. Determining/designating the right person (client side) to handle client responsibilities for a given task

Ready to talk about potential projects and become a rockstar product owner? Connect with us.

Heads up! This article may make reference to the Gaslight team—that's still us! We go by Launch Scout now, this article was just written before we re-introduced ourselves. Find out more here.

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