"We are VIER!" Today: Björn Osbahr, VIER Produt Owner Research & Development engage
Hello Björn – how long have you been part of VIER?
For a little more than two years! In November 2020, in the midst of the Corona pandemic, I started at VIER as a Product Owner for Platform Services. I have been working in my current role since the end of 2021.
You are VIER Product Owner Research & Development engage – what are you doing?
The engage product team has the challenging task of leading one of our core products into the future. Of course, this doesn't work overnight or single-handedly, but only step by step and in coordination with other teams and departments. Many of these coordination tasks are my responsibility and fill a large part of my weekly calendar. I coordinate with other product owners; this often involves interfaces to the emerging VIER platform or to other VIER products. But it's also about making our many existing customers happy(er) or planning important program features to attract exciting new customers. Last but not least, I am in close daily contact with the developers of the engage team in order to prepare the product requirements together. As a product owner, I am responsible for determining the order of development tasks, making their status transparent to all stakeholders and ensuring that the result is in line with the requirements.
What do you particularly like about your job?
In fact, it is the diversity of my tasks that makes my role at FOUR so appealing. Every new client request and every new feature proposal has to be weighed against the large number of tasks that are already scheduled. Again and again there are urgent issues that have to be dealt with at short notice. Then it's a matter of deciding which of the planned tasks are most likely to be cancelled or postponed. What I like most is that I regularly get to talk to other departments, be it Sales, Technical Consulting, Customer Service Desk or Technical Writing. This way I always get to know new people and understand better what makes other departments tick.
What experience and skills from previous jobs help you in your work?
For more than sixteen years now, I have been working with agile software development, i.e. with the idea of delivering software in small steps and with short feedback cycles. I use this idea consistently, for example, to divide large tasks into small, digestible bites or to define intermediate versions with which partial goals can be checked. Having worked as an agile coach for a while and also as a software developer has improved my understanding of the needs of my fellow developers. For example, they don't need to explain to me at length why it is important to reduce technical debt or not to accumulate it in the first place.
What was your strangest travel experience?
In 2017, I was part of a four-week guided tour of India with my wife. We were on our way from New Delhi to Agra with our ten-person tour group in a chartered bus to see the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. After some time on the dusty road, a motor scooter with two men on it suddenly overtook us. They pulled in in front of us and stopped the bus at the side of the road. One of the men entered the bus, introduced himself as a guide and had a short discussion with our tour guide, who quickly gave in and left us to him. The so-called tour guide, who was not an official part of the tour programme, showed us the sights very nicely and had a lot to tell us. But we were left with a queasy feeling about how quickly and without resistance we had been handed over. This guide could easily have taken us somewhere else or done something else to us. Lucky for us.