The Declaration Of Interdependence For Product Owners

What is the Declaration of Interdependence?

The Declaration of Interdependence is a work that discusses the core management principles for Product Owners in Agile Development. No, it isn’t the document that announced the American colonies’ separation from Great Britain. That was the Declaration of Independence, this is the Declaration of Interdependence. The Declaration of Interdependence serves as a sort of guidebook for Product Owners, indicating ideal ways to manage Agile development teams.

As a follow-up to the Agile Manifesto, the Declaration of Interdependence expands on the role of the Product Owner. Where the Agile Manifesto discusses concepts that are relevant to all parts of Agile Projects, the Declaration of Interdependence singles out the Product Owners and seeks to give them all the tools necessary to deliver more value by improving the process project management.

What is the Product Owner in Agile Development?

The Product Owner is a role that is accountable for delivering value to the business through the prioritization of the Product Backlog. They determine what features are added and which are omitted. This role serves as an interface between the development team, and the customers and stakeholders. The Product Owner is an individual that acts as the “Voice of the Customer”.  In larger projects involving multiple Scrum Teams, there may be a single Product Owner assigned to each team.

59 Seconds Agile - The Declaration of Interdependence

59 Seconds Agile – The Declaration of Interdependence

What concepts does the Declaration of Interdependence address?

The first point of the Declaration of Interdependence is increasing return on investment, or ROI. This goal is achieved by the Product Owner ensuring that the incremental development focuses on the “continuous delivery of value” to the business, in order to enhance ROI. This incremental development is a key component of Agile Project Management where the Agile Principles states that  “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software”.

The Product Owner prioritizes the product backlog with the highest value requirements first. This ensures that the next enhancements to be made to the product are those with the greatest value to the customer.  If a new request is made that seems more valuable than the next item in the backlog, the Product Owner moves it to the front of the product backlog queue. If a request is made that ranks somewhere above the end of the backlog but not as high as the top, the Product Owner must place it appropriately. If customers or stakeholders make requests that simply do not add enough value to the product, the Product Owner must make the decision to simply say, “no”.

To maintain customer satisfaction, the Product Owner must deliver reliable results to the customers. Customers should be engaged in the project with frequent interactions with the Product Owner.  This helps to instill a sense of shared ownership for the product on the customer and fulfills their needs for regular increments of increased value in the product. The Product Owner incorporates the customer’s perspectives through the product vision and works with the customers to define acceptance criteria for the prioritized items in the product backlog.

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