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I´m working as a product manager in a young startup. I'm really junior as I am currently in a working semester, pausing my studies (business major). In my role, I am managing the development of our platform, our team consists of a senior CTO, one Full Stack Dev on site and a team of 2 Senior and 2 Junior Devs that work remotely.

My work looks pretty much like this: I decide, together with the CEO, on the features of the product, then create, together with the CTO, the User story backlog and split it up in sprints. For every story, I make sure that there is a detailed feature spec as a single source of truth for the development team.

Coming to my problem: I feel like I'm super dependent on the input of our CTO, who is really experienced in managing projects in big scale. How can I take back a bit more control over the situation? I'm familiar with a lot of aspects of the scrum method, but I don´t really know how to implement proper testing, for example. Should I do the testing, or should we develop automated testing? How does a testing spec look like?

Yeah, so pretty general problems that I'm facing - it would be great to get some feedback/input!

  • You say you are doing Scrum. So who is your Product Owner? Is it you? – nvoigt Nov 28 '16 at 7:36
  • Yes, technically it´s me. – Productguy_1123 Nov 28 '16 at 10:46
  • Does your dev team do their own testing? They should be handling that themselves. – Majaii Nov 28 '16 at 14:52
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Coming to my problem: I feel like I´m super dependent on the input of our CTO, who is really experienced in managing projects in big scale. How can I take back a bit more control over the situation?

Generally speaking, he is senior, you are junior. I guess you can learn a lot from him. So instead of depending on him, try to do the work first and then consult him to correct you if necessary. Learn from the corrections.

I´m familiar with a lot of aspects of the scrum method, but don´t really know how to implement proper testing, for example. Should I do the testing, should we develop automated testing? How does a testing spec look like?

That's not your job. Your job as a PO is making sure the feature you had a story done for is implemented so it fits the business value. In the Review meeting, you need to test the business case. Or have it demoed to you. How or when the team tests their story is not your business. If they want to do it by hand or manually is their decision.

  • This is actually a pretty helpful answer. Thank you nvoigt! I guess I will just concentrate more on the preparation of stories and specs and then review and discuss. One more question: is it normally the CTO or the PO defining the processes and next steps of the development of the Product? If there is a part missing in my specs, should I let him tell me what to deliver until when? – Productguy_1123 Nov 28 '16 at 16:19
  • There is no CTO role in Scrum. The PO is responsible for the product. The CTO might be part of the team (I doubt it) or maybe your Stakeholder (I doubt that , too). Maybe you should ask him. As a Stakeholder he can certainly ask for features. But business features. The team decides technical implementation. – nvoigt Nov 28 '16 at 16:40
  • And nobody can tell a PO "until when". Stakeholders can give input and the PO can prioritize it accordingly. – nvoigt Nov 28 '16 at 16:44
  • Maybe I should specify: we are a small startup Team and the CTO is coordinating all the developers directly. So basically he is part of the team, in that respect. – Productguy_1123 Nov 28 '16 at 18:20
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Should I do the testing, or should we develop automated testing? How does a testing spec look like?

You role is to validate that you product works the way you specified it, not to test if it works at all. So you clearly don't have to do all the testing and bug finding, but you can help make this testing easier for your dev team by using the GHERKIN syntax to specify your stories.

With Gherkin, you describes functional scenarios in a way that can be easily translated by the dev team into automated fonctional tests. Gherkin specs also makes the validation step easier, as most of your work will consist in checking if your product allow the realization of each of your scenarios.

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