Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart: The large backlog as a PO anti-pattern

In this episode, we talk 4 PO patterns, and discuss several techniques on how to recover from the anti-patterns we discuss.

The Great Product Owner: Difficult conversations as a catalyst for a better story and product understanding 

Good PO’s are there for the team, and answer their questions. However, great PO’s are able to have difficult conversations that help clarify the reasons for the Stories and motivate the team. Sometimes, those hard conversations lead to changes in the product. And that’s a good thing! For both teams, and PO!

In this segment, we talk about a tip: have the PO define “team hours”, when they sit with the team and answer their questions.

The Bad Product Owner: The large backlog as a PO anti-pattern

When the PO is not able to handle the Product Backlog anymore, the team will suffer. In this segment, we talk about a PO that had trouble keeping up with the Backlog as it was large, unwieldy, and had no structure. We discuss how the team helped the PO clear the backlog, and what tools and techniques they used to keep the backlog short and under control. 

Another anti-pattern we discuss is the PO who was too much into the details and lost the big picture. When that happens, the PO can’t help the team understand the “why”, and removes the motivation that comes from understanding the purpose of the work. We discuss how the PO can step back and help the team regain their motivation and convey a clearer picture of the reasons for the product changes.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart

Samantha Menzynski has spent her entire career in software. Starting in support and account management, moving to customer support management, and with Penta’s transformation to Scrum becoming Scrum Master for the Core product team.

You can link with Samantha Menzynski on LinkedIn. 

Brian Ziebart started his career in software as a developer but found himself wanting to move towards coaching and developing people rather than product development.  When Penta’s Scrum transformation started in August 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to work more with people while still staying involved with development.

You can link with Brian Ziebart on LinkedIn. 

You can read more about Samantha’s and Brian’s work and the Agile transformation they were part of in this blog post.

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