Monday, 19 July 2010

Why Feature needs a owner?

We usually think that the Product Owner owns everything associated with the Product... though in a broader terms this is OK... in reality this is a big headache.. specially when your product is getting bombarded with new Features....

In past I have realised that some features get built without thoughtful thinking and in attempts to tailor make the usage those features become a headache.. I once read a tweet (Don't know the source or remember the twitter-er) "Feature is like sex, one mistake and you have to support for life time" . Features need thoughtful thinking.. but more than thoughtful thinking it needs a owner... you may think that depending on the stages of the feature in development it can be owned by different people, theoretically this sounds Good... practically I think the approach has to be changed... You cant have different husbands for a women based on what stage your marriage is, isn't it? Similarly, Features need 1 owner for its lifetime... yet multiple people who support it in various phases..

So when someone says The Feature owner is :
  • Product Manager : When the Feature is Ideated :
  • Business Analyst : When the Feature is Documented :
  • Project Manager : When the Feature is planned for delivery :
  • Developer : When the feature is developed :
  • Tester : When it is tested :

He/She is getting rid of his/her responsibility... The feature needs a owner and it needs 1 owner.. So why is it so?

1. If the feature is not owned.. it will be driven by some customer who thinks its the best way they can have it and fits to the best of their requirement....

2. If the feature is not owned : Developer will develop with his own ideas.. and though it will be pragmatic to the product it may technically be a disaster to extend the feature...

3. If the feature is not owned : It will be directionless... I have seen features not reaching its end..they go on and on and on.

4. If the feature is not owned : It doesn't have a legitimate customer, everyone wants to use and mould it in the way they like

5. If the feature is not owned : From the beginning to end it is going to be a disaster.

So how does one own a Feature:

1. When the feature is ideated, think over it. Brainstorm the idea with tons of people.
2. When it is documented , get it reviewed by customers, internal users, everyone who is somewhere associated with the product or feature.
3. Discuss the wire frames and usability with people who would use it and who wont use it.
4. When in development phase, have a look at it every now and then.
5. Test , Test , Test and Test when the feature is in alpha, beta or UAT phase
6. Brainstorm the usage and usability with testers.
7. Promote the feature to be used by customers.
8. Enhance the feature , think about new addons to the feature every now and then.

Though these things look pretty difficult... if it is made a part of strict rules, the feature will benefit diamonds out of it... Finally what benefits is the product...

So who in your Team can do this? Who in your Team wants to take the ownership to make it successful? Remember its not just the Product Owner... Its a lot of you if you are closely or farely associated with the Product.....

Comment if you disagree?