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Gemma Murray: The Key to Successful Agile Product Ownership, The Value-driven Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: The Key to Successful Agile Product Ownership, The Value-driven PO

In this segment, Gemma highlights the importance of a great Product Owner (PO) in agile methodologies. A great PO is always asking “why”, and is constantly seeking to understand the value of the product and the work being done by the team. Gemma describes a PO that came into a team that was maintaining a product, but with their focus on value and constant seeking of feedback, they were able to pivot and make improvements based on data and customer feedback. The PO was able to maintain a great relationship with the team by always listening and acting on feedback from the outside.

The PO focused on collecting metrics to validate their ideas and make data-driven decisions. By being able to listen to and act on feedback, the PO was able to make quicker and better decisions that were in line with the needs and wants of the customer. This ability to listen and act on feedback is a superpower for any PO and is key to their success in agile methodologies.

The Bad Product Owner: The Destructive Effects of a Disempowered Agile Product Owner

In this segment, Gemma discussed a common anti-pattern in product ownership, where the Product Owner may not feel empowered to make decisions. This can result in the team looking for clarity from other sources and the PO not feeling like they are part of the team. Gemma recounted out a real-life scenario where a PO manager became involved in the product development process and started imposing ideas onto the backlog. The manager believed they were supporting the PO and team but this resulted in the PO becoming a silent voice in the team.

To address this issue, Gemma offered several tips. She advised sharing observations with the manager to help them reflect on their behavior, separating behavior from consequences, and avoiding assumptions about others’ thoughts. It is important to clarify the consequences of the behavior, in this case, the PO not feeling confident enough to make decisions on the product. By taking these steps, Gemma aimed to help others resolve similar challenges in product ownership.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide ‘Great design for everyone’. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Pino Decandia: The Product Owner committee, a serious anti-pattern

The Great Product Owner: The perfect project, with the perfect PO

The Product Owner Pino describes was intimately familiar with the product, and the problem that needed to be solved with it. Because of this, the PO did not have to seek permission or confirmation from someone else before making decisions. The PO was empowered! Also critically, the PO was “the face” of all decisions with the client, which allowed him to protect the team from unnecessary pressure. As Pino describes it: “it was the perfect project”!

The Bad Product Owner: PO by committee, a serious anti-pattern

Instead of one Product Owner, this project had a committee of people who were assigned the overall PO role. However, in this case, the committee did not work to fulfill the PO role. The conflicting needs in that group of people led to decisions that took too long, and to the alienation of the team, who was not allowed to give input after a decision because the committee was not able to process the feedback.

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 Pino Decandia

Pino started in software development but realized he was more interested in people than code. With experience, Pino came to believe that people can change; they don’t resist change but offer their own vision, which needs to be met.

Secondly, needs drive behaviors. To provide help, we must allow them to be clearly expressed. To set the example, we need to be ready to be the first to state our needs.

And thirdly, that ideological battles are meaningless.

You can link with Pino Decandia 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 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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