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Sónia Won: The Helicopter PO anti-pattern explained

The Great Product Owner: Empathy and Vision, Two Signs of a Great Product Owner

In this segment, Sónia discusses the characteristics of a great Product Owner (PO) who had a programming background, which proved advantageous. The PO had a strong connection with the team and displayed empathy for their work. Focusing on the Vision space, the PO inspired the team by communicating the desired outcome and trusting them to find the solutions. Encouraging them to think creatively and go beyond the obvious, the PO also had a keen sense of what the team needed. Striking a balance, the PO pushed the team while providing them with sufficient time to accomplish their tasks. Overall, the PO’s ability to inspire, communicate, and understand the team’s needs contributed to their effectiveness in the role.

The Bad Product Owner: The Helicopter PO anti-pattern

In this segment, the discussion revolves around a bad Product Owner pattern known as “The Helicopter PO.” The PO is frequently absent, only occasionally attending planning sessions and providing a barrage of sprint goals. The lack of consistent presence and participation in retrospectives led to a lack of vision, making it difficult for the team to focus and make decisions. The team functioned more as a “simple provider” for the PO, resulting in frequent failures, excessive work in progress, and numerous unfinished tasks. The episode highlights the critical role of communication and the importance of the PO being present and engaged with the team for successful outcomes.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

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 Sónia Won

Sónia is an experienced professional with 17 years in Software Engineering. She has held roles as a Software Engineer, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for a decade. Currently, as a Product Owner, she values teamwork and recognizes the significance of prioritizing people in any endeavor.

The big lesson she’s learned so far: no matter how complex a subject can be, the most important thing is to take care of people. Because teams, companies, and communities are made of those!

You can link with Sónia Won on LinkedIn and connect with Sónia Won on Twitter.

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Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
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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
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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