Mher Nalbandyan: Coaching a Product Owner on their availability to the Scrum team!

The Great Product Owner: The PO that spoke the team’s language

This Product Owner was able to write stories with acceptance criteria, and descriptions the team members considered understandable. The PO was also able to write descriptive bugs and even did some testing. The PO also had enough technical background to help answer some more detailed questions by the team members. However, most importantly, the PO knew their limits and where to stop providing information.

The Bad Product Owner: Coaching a PO on their availability to the Scrum team!

This PO was not always available, which led to a slow feedback loop. This slow feedback loop, and lack of availability can cause problems and demotivates the team. Mher describes how he raised the topic with the PO to be able to address the needs of the team. In this episode, we talk about the Sprint Checklist, a coaching tool we designed here at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help you discuss the availability topic with the PO.

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 Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter.

Salvatore Rinaldo: Helping an absent Product Owner, learn and improve on their role

The Great Product Owner: The Chief Clarity Officer, providing clarity and decisions when needed

Great PO’s are able to influence, without being seen as “the boss”, and they take their work very seriously, even if they don’t take themselves too seriously. As Salvatore says: great PO’s become the Chief Clarity Officers, being present, answering questions, and clarifying what is necessary for the team to function. In this segment, we talk about the “kill criteria”, a concept you can use to help PO’s decide what to remove from the product, a skill that great Product Owners also exhibit.

The Bad Product Owner: How to facilitate a conversation with an absent PO, so they understand the impact they have on the team

This PO was unavailable to the team, and that caused a number of problems for the team. In this segment, we talk about the anti-patterns that show up in the team, when the PO is too busy to be present with the team. Salvatore suggests a few things to try, to help the PO understand their impact on the team, and we refer to the Sprint Checklist, a hands-on guide that we produced to help you facilitate that conversation with the PO.

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 Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn.

Bevan Williams: From Absent to Awesome! A Product Owner transformation story

The Great Product Owner: From Absent to Awesome! A PO transformation story

This Product Owner was absent at first. A common anti-pattern for PO’s. The PO was spread over 5 teams. That’s when Bevan got together with the PO and asked: “how do we solve this together?” Listen in to learn how this PO went from being absent, to being a great PO with the help of Bevan! 

In this segment, we refer to intent based leadership by David Marquet, who’s been a guest on the podcast. 

The Bad Product Owner: Solving the absent PO anti-pattern.

This Product Owner was often absent, a common anti-pattern in larger organizations. To make it even harder, this PO was only assigned to the role part-time. The team was sorely missing answers that would help them progress. What can we do in these situations? Bevan shares some of the solutions he’s tried to solve the Absent PO anti-pattern. 

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 Bevan Williams

Bevan is an Agile Coach & Trainer at Think Agile. His career has been driven by his passion of creating inclusive environments where people can be at their best. 

You can link with Bevan Williams on LinkedIn and connect with Bevan Williams on Twitter.

Usman Kotwal: Helping Agile teams when the Product Owners are absent

In this project, some new Product Owners were appointed. However, the PO’s wanted to have their own teams. Working with a consulting company, they set the new teams up for the project, however, and based on experience, the consulting company organized for each team to have a “shadow PO”. Over time, it became clear that the buyer-side Product Owners were very much “hands-off”, and the teams were discouraged from talking directly to the stakeholders, which led to trouble because they started missing information they could not get any other way. 

In this episode, we explore this anti-pattern in a team, and what we can do – as Scrum Masters – to combat the potential consequences.

Featured Book of the Week: Empowered by Marty Cagan et al.

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How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Usman Kotwal

Usman is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in the field of data analytics in life sciences. He considers his learning journey to continue forever when it comes to bringing forward change in the ways we work collaboratively. His mission is to help guide the way to empowered product teams.

You can link with Usman Kotwal on LinkedIn.

Samet Ulutas: The many anti-patterns that develop when people are forced to take on the PO role

The Great Product Owner: Developing great networks with stakeholders

Great Product Owners know their product backlog back and forth, and develop great networks within the organization that help solve the critical problems, and answer questions for themselves and the teams they work with. This particular PO also made a point of being available for the team when the teams needed them, and met regularly with stakeholders 1-on-1. 

In this segment, we talk about User Story Mapping, and Impact Mapping

The Bad Product Owner: The many anti-patterns that develop when people are forced to take on the PO role

This Product Owner did not want to take on that role, they were forced to take it, and acted mostly like a Backlog secretary. By stepping back due to other responsibilities, this PO left the team to their own devices, and was mostly absent when the team needed them. 

And this was just the start, listen in to learn about the many anti-patterns that develop when people are forced to take on the PO role. 

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 Samet Ulutas

Samet has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 3 years and coached 35+ different teams until now. Samet has plenty of experience dealing with difficulties of an Agile Transformation, including being to witness the Agile Transformation of the largest private bank in Turkey from the beginning. Samet is also the co-owner of “Be Agile Stay Agile” YouTube channel. 

You can link with Samet Ulutas on LinkedIn and connect with Samet Ulutas on Twitter.

Lucia Alarcon: How to help a busy, and absent Product Owner, work better with their Agile team

Lucia started her career on the project management path, and she had success with it. However, unlike many project managers that find Scrum by chance, Lucia was on a deliberate quest to find a better way of delivering software projects. It was not by chance that she, after searching for a while, found Scrum, and the Scrum Master role. 

This newfound career took her into a new company that was starting a new project, with a Product Owner that did not have time for the team. In this episode, we explore how Scrum Masters can develop their relationship with the PO, to be able to help the team. 

In this episode, we also refer to the Coach Your PO course, a course by the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help Scrum Masters develop their PO skills, and be able to help the PO’s they work with. We also refer to the Product Owner Sprint Checklist, a tool we developed to help you have that important conversation about the PO’s availability to the team, because when they are not available, we know, the team suffers!

About Lucia Alarcon

Lucia is a Delivery Lead and a coach working in Wellington NZ, leading an amazing development squad to achieve the delivery of multiple digital initiatives using Agile, creating a culture of empowerment, collaboration and communication. With 15+ years of experience, her professional (and personal!) journey has taken her through a variety of organizations and halfway around the world from Argentina. Lucia loves all things Agile, facilitation and coaching. 

You can link with Lucia Alarcon on LinkedIn and connect with Lucia Alarcon on Instagram.

Alex Gbaguidi: The Bossy and Absent Product Owner, the perfect storm for the Scrum team

The Great Product Owner: The Visionary PO that involved the users

This Product Owner was new to the job, and just fresh out of University. However, the skills she displayed made her a great Product Owner. She was able to listen and understand what was going on, share the Vision and do so through great storytelling. She also helped the team to learn from the users. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Bossy and Absent PO, the perfect storm for the team

When the Product Owner thinks they are “the boss” things can go terribly wrong, and this was the case in a PO that just wanted the teams to “deliver this feature”. On top of that, the PO was too busy to answer questions by the team, making it even harder for the team to deliver. Finally, we talk about the consequences for the team of such a PO.

Are you having trouble helping the teamwork 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 Alex Gbaguidi

Alex is an experienced agile practitioner, coach and trainer with twenty years of experience in IT consulting. He is passionate about helping teams discover the best ways of working adapted to their context. He’s worked in many different types of industries (Telecoms, Energy, Finance or Aeronautics) and provides training on many agile frameworks and practices all around the world in French & English.

You can link with Alex Gbaguidi on LinkedIn and connect with Alex Gbaguidi on Twitter

You can join Alex Gbaguidi’s Agile Africa community.

Priyanka Keswani: Helping busy PO’s collaborate better with their Scrum teams

The Great Product Owner: Communication and negotiation as key skills for great PO’s

Great Product Owners focus on communicating their Vision, and helping the team understand where they want to take the product. But that’s only one perspective on communication. We discuss how the ability to communicate and negotiate with the team and stakeholders become a key contributor to a great PO.

In this segment, we refer to WSJF prioritization or Weighted Shortest Job First

The Bad Product Owner: Helping busy PO’s collaborate better with their Scrum teams

When PO’s have several hats, it becomes difficult to give teams the time they need to clarify questions and receive feedback. This lack of availability can quickly become a blocker for the team if we – as Scrum Masters – don’t help the team and PO define clearly how they will collaborate. We explore how to help busy PO’s collaborate better (and in many cases more!) with the team. 

In this segment, we refer to the PO’s Sprint Checklist, a tool we created at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help Scrum Masters guide and support their PO’s. 

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 Priyanka Keswani

Priyanka is a seasoned Agile Coach with a firm belief in innovation, continuous improvement, and a focus on Agile transformation in the organization. With 14+ years of experience, she has worked across various domains- Content Delivery Network, Travel, CRM, and Storage. She started as a QA Manager, then became Scrum Master and Agile Coach. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to music, dancing, traveling, and networking with people.

You can link with Priyanka Keswani on LinkedIn and connect with Priyanka Keswani on Twitter.

Raphael Branger: The Product Owner that “spoke” SQL, a success story 

From a Product Owner who spoke the same language as the team to the Product Owner that was absent, in this episode, we explore two patterns and the techniques Raphael used to help the team benefit from the Product Owner’s and stakeholder’s feedback.

The Great Product Owner: The Product Owner who spoke technical language

In this segment, we talk about a manager that wanted to be involved, wanted to know what the team was working on, and was even able to “speak” SQL with the team. This is an example of how management can bring value to the team by providing insight and quick decisions.

The Bad Product Owner: Working around the absent Product Owner

Sometimes, we are given the task to work with a Product Owner that is absent. In this segment, we talk about how Raphael was able to work around that problem and involve the right person to have feedback and quick decisions for the team. A great story of how Scrum Masters can work with what is available, instead of complaining about what is not.

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: 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 Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter.

Dragana Hadzic: How to deal with an Absent or Overly busy PO

From passionate Product Owners to the Product Owners that are MIA (Missing in Action), we talk about two aspects that directly affect the team’s performance.

The Great Product Owner: The Passionate Product Owner

Great Product Owners are often passionate about the product they work on. In this segment we talk about a PO that was able to give that passion to the team, making them an great team. In this segment we also about User Story Mapping, a method popularized by Jeff Patton (Jeff has been a previous guest on the podcast) that helps the team and PO understand the context of the User Stories they are implementing. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Absent Product Owner

Working with a Proxy Product Owner is bad enough, however, then that PO doesn’t have time to work daily with the team, things get even worse! We’ve discussed this anti-pattern before here on the blog, and have created a guide for you to help those product owners. Get the guide on how to work with absent or overly busy Product Owners here.

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: 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 Dragana Hadzic

Dragana is an agile enthusiast who believes communication is critical for success in everything, including software projects. A Scrum Master and an Agile Coach with broad experience in IT industry and different leadership roles. Passionate about everything that brings positive energy and enables people to achieve great results.

You can link with Dragana Hadzic on LinkedIn and connect with Dragana Hadzic on Twitter

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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 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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