#meetodc: Sahar Alimi-Claußen

What does a product owner actually do? Today we introduce you to our Product Owner Sahar. She is the interface between the developers and all stakeholders and ensures the economic success of the products. In the interview Sahar tells us what is best about her job.

Who are you?
Hi, I am Sahar and I have been working as Product Owner (PO) at odc for one and a half years. Already during my engineering studies at the TUHH with focus on logistics, infrastructure and mobility, I worked as a student trainee in the Digital Lab of Hermes. There, I got to know the agile way of working in a start-up and realized that this is how I would like to work.

How did you come to logistics and odc?
I grew up in Hamburg and have lived in Hamburg for 30 years – except for my semester abroad in San Diego. This means that I have always had a connection to logistics, the port and trade, which has impressed me from an early age. After my high school graduation, it was therefore clear to me that I wanted to study logistics and preferably in my home town.

What are your tasks as a Product Owner?
As Product Owner, I and my colleague Henning form the interface between the development team and all stakeholders, including our employees and customers. In principle, we are responsible for building products that our stakeholders will love. To do this, I consult with all stakeholders, analyze their needs and communicate these to the development team through user stories. All entries are collected in the product backlog and prioritized by us. The trick is to cut the big solution of the problem into smaller pieces in order to minimize the complexity of development and testing while continuously adding value.

Every morning, the product teams – the product owner and the developers of his/her team – start with a daily. We discuss what we have achieved the day before, what we are planning next, and whether anything is currently blocking us. In addition, we pass on the collected requirements from the product backlog to our developers in a pre-prioritized and coordinated manner in the product department.

What’s the best thing about your work?
What I particularly appreciate about my work is that I have to put myself in the position of all the departments in the company in order to understand the current requirements. This gives me a holistic view of the company, the problems and the current challenges. Often you get carried away and immediately start looking for solutions before you understand the actual problem. But only when I can put myself in the position of others,  I understand the problems and can start looking for solutions. This way of thinking is a strength of mine and I enjoy working like this.

What should you bring to work as a product owner?
In theory, you only need soft skills, a 360° view and you should be able to make quick decisions. A certain basic technical understanding is advantageous in order to be able to communicate better with the developers. But you don’t have to be able to program. Furthermore, you should be available for the team for questions and feedback, especially for developers who often have a technical view of things. Last but not least, you should never lose sight of the vision and always keep in mind the big picture.

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