Kim Hinsch: How to help a PO step down from the “clouds”, and help the Scrum team make decisions

The Great Product Owner: Trust your Scrum team

Great Product Owners are able to trust the teams they work with. They help the team establish, and gain self-confidence in their actions and decisions. This does not mean the PO resigns, but rather that they first trust the team, and pull rank only rarely – even if they are very experienced in the product. Great PO’s often say “go ahead, I trust you”, even if they have another idea of what the solution could be. 

The Bad Product Owner: The “in the clouds” PO 

There are several PO anti-patterns that detract from the PO’s performance. One such anti-pattern is when the PO is constantly in “the clouds”, and is unable to bring their vision to the reality of everyday decision making. The PO isn’t invested in the “now”, but the team can only make immediate decisions, and they need the PO to help them make those decisions. 

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 Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn.

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.

Lena Löfdahl: How pressure destroys the trust between PO and Scrum team

The Great Product Owner: How to simply explain a very complex functionality

This Product Owner worked with an Offshore team that had the mission to completely overhaul the search function in a major company’s website. The PO could have worked in detail, and written down many ideas of how that search function could work, however, the PO simply conveyed what was needed with a high-level vision, and the team worked through a clickable wireframe to collect feedback and deliver a great experience!

The Bad Product Owner: How pressure destroys the trust between PO and Scrum team

This PO was new to the team, and the organization had already put lots of pressure on the team and PO. The PO, unable to cope with the pressure pushed the team, and made them nervous. This ended up disrupting the relationship between PO and team, created a lot of interruptions and conflict. Lena understood that, before working on the methods/processes, the key was to start working on the relationship between PO and team.

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 Lena Löfdahl

Lena is a senior agile coach with a specialty in learning and psychological safety. Successfully coached over 200+ teams and taught courses for 8000+ hours, mostly in agile but also project management. She gets a lot of energy from building teams and colleagues, watching people grow is rewarding work. 

You can link with Lena Löfdahl on LinkedIn.

Inderdip Vraich: Great Product Owner translate “fuzzy ideas” into concrete asks for the Scrum team 

The Great Product Owner: How to translate “fuzzy ideas” into concrete asks for the Scrum team 

Great Product Owners ask about, and translate their ideas into business value. They ask about it from the stakeholders, and translate it for the team, so that the team may understand why their work is important. They also put significant effort in communicating (e.g. through feature kick-offs) with the team about what is expected. They act as a constant and solid bridge between the outside, and the inside of the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Recovering from conflict between team and PO

One of the characteristic PO anti-patterns is putting unreasonable expectations on the team, and using pressure as a tool to get the team to work “harder”. This kind of anti-pattern can lead to serious problems in the team and the relationship between PO and team. We discuss what a Scrum Master can do to recover from this kind of negative spiral

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 Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter

David Wallace: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

Great Product Owners know how to involve team members in the definition and decision-making processes. However, the contrast is a PO that thinks they were given the mission to be a Project Manager. Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager? Listen in to learn about the signs that the PO might have taken the Project Management role.

The Great Product Owner:  Building collaboration by involving team members across disciplines

Great Product Owners are amazing that getting people to buy in to the Vision for the product/project. But they also know how to help the team put in practice continuous discovery, involving both engineering and the design team. As the POs starts to involve team and stakeholders, they make their job both more effective, and easier! A win-win!

The Bad Product Owner: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

When Product Owners think they are Project Managers – maybe because they had that role in the past – they forget about the product vision and start focusing too much on topics that the team should focus on. They dictate dates, scope and force the teams to follow the plan without questioning it. When this happens, a lot is lost in the team. Is your Product Owner behaving like a Project Manager? 

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 David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand based cloud accounting software company. 

You can link with David Wallace on LinkedIn and connect with David Wallace on Twitter.

Richard Lizama: “Just enough” Planning, the secret super power of great Product Owners

When it comes to planning, there’s plenty of opinions about how much is “just enough”. In this episode, we discuss this question from two different perspectives: the PO that wanted “just enough” planning, and the PO that wanted to over-plan everything in minute detail! 

The Great Product Owner: “Just enough” Planning, the secret superpower of great PO’s

Great Product Owners realize that they are part of the team, and focus on helping the team continuously improve in respect to how they think about customers and their role as product developers. In this segment, we also talk about how much is “just enough planning”, and the importance of feedback when helping develop the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Too much planning and its nasty consequences

In this segment, we talk about the PO that wants to plan everything, and in detail! We also discuss how to know when we are doing too much planning, or too little! Learning to hit the sweet spot in terms of planning is a critical enabler for team agility, and the Scrum Master can help the PO with that goal!

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 Richard Lizama

Before becoming a Scrum Master, Richard spent time as a college counselor, then a small business owner, then a tech support rep. Once he found Scrum and Agile, he knew it was where he needed to be.

You can link with Richard Lizama on LinkedIn.

Mark Metze: Using Sprint Goals as a way to collaborate and communicate with Stakeholders

Sprint Goals are a tool for the PO to communicate with the team and Stakeholders. However, not all PO’s know how to use them, or even try. When PO’s aren’t able to communicate the value to the team and stakeholders, then bad things can happen as we learn in this week’s PO anti-pattern segment.

The Great Product Owner: Using Sprint Goals as a way to collaborate and communicate with Stakeholders

Sprint goals are a tool that helps teams focus and make decisions, however, those goals don’t create themselves. A great Product Owner is able to prepare those Sprint Goals in a way that speaks to the team. In This segment, we refer to a technique by a PO that brought several possible goals to the Sprint Review, and asked the stakeholders to help them choose the right goal for the Sprint. 

In this segment, we also refer to Martin Dalmijn’s work (Martin has been a guest here on the podcast).

The Bad Product Owner: Value delivery as the focus for Product Owners 

This segment starts with a sad story, that of a PO that was fired after 9 months of work with their team. The reason: they had no way to show the value of what the team had delivered in those 9 months. A critical responsibility for a Product Owner.

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 Mark Metze

Following the pattern of all good Computer Science majors, Mark began his career as a programmer and devoted the first 2 decades of his career to the craft of writing code. His next decade was spent in a managerial role for a software team. And then recently he pivoted once again to the role of Scrum Master. Mark has a heart for leading through service and has enthusiastically embraced the role of Scrum Master.

You can link with Mark Metze on LinkedIn

Med Marouane Ajraoui: From collaborator to bossy, the Product Owner attitude spectrum to look out for

The attitude that the PO exhibits will fundamentally affect their effectiveness in the role, and in this episode, we explore 2 contrasting attitudes in the PO role.

The Great Product Owner: The great Collaborator

A great Product Owner is able to collaborate with the teams and the stakeholders, through their listening skills and ability to communicate ideas and why they matter for the product and the customer. Another great asset for a Product Owner is to be able to understand and evaluate technical debt together with the team. Finally, we talk about how great teams have the PO inside, and as a key part of the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The bossy PO

In this segment, we talk about how PO’s sometimes take a “bossy” perspective and are not able to understand their role. They might think they are “the boss”, and can just give orders to the team. In this segment, we also discuss the concept of the “product team”, as opposed to having the product focus only in the PO role.

We refer to the book User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton.

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 Med Marouane Ajraoui

Med Marouane Ajraoui enjoys practicing AIKIDO while helping individuals, teams, and organizations embrace the agile mindset. He is from Morocco but has lived in several countries, and he enjoys being a “citizen of the world”. He is the founder of Agile Africa, an NGO for disseminating Agile culture in Africa. He is also the CEO and founder of JediSquad, an international firm that supports developing Eco Agile businesses and meaningful digital products.

You can link with Med Marouane Ajraoui on LinkedIn

Artur Margonari: How to work with very busy, multiple hat wearing Product Owners

The Great Product Owner: The PO that facilitates conversations and short feedback loops

This PO had a positive attitude, knew the product very well and was able to create communication opportunities between the team and the stakeholders. The PO was able to create, within the team, the idea that the team was working for the stakeholders, not the PO. Finally, this PO was able to create the opportunity for very short feedback loops. 

The Bad Product Owner: The very busy, multi-hat PO problem

When PO’s wear many hats, that creates time and focus conflicts for the PO. It’s hard for such a PO to separate their day-to-day responsibilities from the answers that the team needs and prioritization becomes a problem. Inevitably, the PO with many hats is very busy and ends up pushing the team by telling them exactly “how” they should do their work. It’s up to us, Scrum Masters to help the organization solve this problem, and in some cases, the organization might not even recognize this as a problem! 

Here on the podcast, we’ve created a guide to help Scrum Masters work with very busy Product Owners with our PO Sprint Checklist how-to guide.

 

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 Artur Margonari

Artur is a Brazilian living in Belgium since 2014. When not playing music, practicing martial arts, or traveling, he supports organizations in their agile and continuous improvement journey. He also just adopted a cat and a dog 🙂

You can link with Artur Margonari on LinkedIn and connect with Artur Margonari on Twitter.

Stephane Thanasack: The PO that wanted to control everything

Seniority is often seen as a leading indicator of competence and effectiveness. However, that’s not always the case. In this episode, we share some surprising insights about how seniority is not always a great indicator of who can play the PO role.

The Great Product Owner: The Junior PO that helped the team understand what was needed

Seniority is not always an indicator of who might be a great PO. In this segment, we talk about a junior PO that was great in the PO role. The PO was able to ask questions, wanted to understand, but not control and focused on making decisions when everyone, and everything was ready. Through this approach, the PO was able to ensure everybody understood what was being asked from the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that wanted to control everything

In this segment, we describe a Product Owner that knows the whole business. This PO has been a project manager, an architect and even tries to design the product! This PO wants to control everything, every step of the process, and therefore prevents the team from succeeding on its own.

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 Stephane Thanasack

Stephane works with Agile clients in France, where he lives. He’s also the co-founder of Nowshak, a consulting company helping organizations in their transformation journey. He’s a certified professional coach by the International Coaching Federation.

You can link with Stephane Thanasack on LinkedIn.