The Great Product Owner: Working with great Technical Product Owners, and how they use their technical expertise to help the team
Great Product Owners can have a technical background, and use it to the team’s and their own advantage. Bram notes that the PO’s understanding of the impact of technical debt makes it easier for them to understand the team’s struggles. Leading to productive conversations, and the team being given time to handle technical debt issues.
Bram advises that a great Product Owner should be present and available to the team, sitting down with them during lunch breaks to discuss issues and concerns. He suggests helping the PO develop their own system to keep the product backlog manageable and addresses common counter arguments he gets from PO’s when asking them to limit the size of their backlog. Bram also provides tips on how to have a conversation about the consequences of adding too many things to the backlog and how to help the PO say “no” to stakeholders.
The Bad Product Owner: Working with technical PO’s to address dictatorial behavior and improve team motivation
Sometimes, Product Owners who have a technical background tend to dictate solutions to the team without considering other options. Bram notes that these PO’s are often not open to different or better solutions and even question the team’s progress. He suggests addressing this issue by making it transparent, showing the impact it has on the team, and discussing how team members feel about the collaboration with the PO.
Bram also highlights the impact this behavior has on team motivation and provides tips on how to handle this situation, such as using real situations to help the product owner reflect and encouraging open discussion of team feelings in the retrospective.
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 Bram De Block
Bram is not an official trainer, consultant nor freelancer. He is just himself, supporting colleagues in applying and growing their own potential and getting stuff done. Bram started as a software developer for 10 years, then grew into a half-time agile coach, and finally, full-time “Global Agile Lead” at Skyline Communications. Something “special” he learned (even if he wishes it wasn’t special): the meaning and impact of “respect”.
You can link with Bram De Block on LinkedIn, or meet Bram face-to-face at this meetup he hosts in Belgium.