Thomas van Zuijlen: Helping Product Owners get out of the “weeds”, by focusing them on the future, and the “why” question

The Great Product Owner: The PO that could survive even the most embarrassing of situations, and help everyone move on

This PO was able to be involved with the team, but also let the team make their own decisions. But that was not the only superpower. This PO was also able to recover from the most awkward situations, and give everybody a sense of progress. Listen in to learn about a specific, and potentially embarrassing situation that the PO handled perfectly.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s get out of the “weeds”, by focusing them on the future, and the “why” question

When PO’s get involved with making technical decisions with the team (getting involved with the “how”), they tend to interfere more than help. The setup is so that the team usually then follows whatever the PO thinks they should do (as PO’s often have a technical background, or at least authority), and then the team loses the ownership of their own decisions. In this case, we also hear the the PO was so busy with the “how”, they didn’t have time to think about the future and the “why”. This is a self-perpetuating pattern that we need to help PO’s get out of.

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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