Releasing CRäKN, Week 4: What It’s Like to Be a New Product Owner and Showing Off Working Features

This post is part of a blog series that follows along as we work with our client, CRäKN, to build a software-as-a-service app. First post here.

Word for the week: productive. If you were a super secret invisible spy in the office, you’d have seen the CRäKN team wearing headphones and doing a lot of heads-down work at their desks. Things are picking up speed on this greenfield project, and as more design and code assets start to take shape, there’s more for everyone to do.

CRäKN product owner Shawna Becknell tested out real functionality for the first time this week. She tried out the inquiry feature, which is the form where information is captured about new clients, and she discovered some opportunities for a better user experience. In the search section, for example, she wanted to click on a person’s name instead of a button. “I wouldn’t have even reported it,” she said. “Except one of the developers was sitting next to me and said, ‘This is a problem. You’ve tried to click on a name three times.’”

This week also turned into a mini product owner boot camp. While Shawna spent years in project management and other leadership roles, she’s stepping into product owner shoes for the first time on the CRäKN build. She made time for lunch this week with Marci Campbell and Mark Hannah from Knovation, another Gaslight client, to learn how they approach the role. “They downloaded me with wisdom,” she said. “ Mark told me he would sketch things out instead of just writing user stories. He recommended wire framing, which is so brilliant and so obvious.”

The group also talked about the best way to create distinct pieces of work for the design and development team. What works best? Does the team want a broad goal? Or individual user stories? Right now Shawna follows the goal approach then the design and development team breaks things down into smaller user stories as they see fit.

The whole team pushed toward delivering two distinct features this week for a demo on Friday. CRäKN Founder Scott Mindrum and Chief Sales Officer Tim Zeuch were both excited about trying out the app, so the team focused on making sure these early features both looked great and worked awesome. Everyone was hoping for a bit of a wow factor at the meeting.

With the demo scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, the dev team coded through lunch and admitted to stress eating some pizza and snacks. But the hard work paid off when they demoed roughly three screens, including login and index pages for new inquiries. “Shawna and I were nervous,” says CRäKN Chief Technology Officer Cliff Campbell. “But Scott and Tim’s reaction was ‘This is totally amazing!’”

Check out the Week 5 post to read about the project’s first two retrospectives and what everyone feels is going well … and where there’s room for improvement.

Subscribe to the Gaslight Newsletter

Like what you see? Subscribe to Gaslight’s monthly email newsletter for coding tips, tech insights, events, news and more delivered right to your inbox from the Gaslight Team!

Subscribe Now