Thomas van Zuijlen: Helping Product Owners get out of the “weeds”, by focusing them on the future, and the “why” question

The Great Product Owner: The PO that could survive even the most embarrassing of situations, and help everyone move on

This PO was able to be involved with the team, but also let the team make their own decisions. But that was not the only superpower. This PO was also able to recover from the most awkward situations, and give everybody a sense of progress. Listen in to learn about a specific, and potentially embarrassing situation that the PO handled perfectly.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s get out of the “weeds”, by focusing them on the future, and the “why” question

When PO’s get involved with making technical decisions with the team (getting involved with the “how”), they tend to interfere more than help. The setup is so that the team usually then follows whatever the PO thinks they should do (as PO’s often have a technical background, or at least authority), and then the team loses the ownership of their own decisions. In this case, we also hear the the PO was so busy with the “how”, they didn’t have time to think about the future and the “why”. This is a self-perpetuating pattern that we need to help PO’s get out of.

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 Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

Erik de Bos: The Product Owner that stepped back so much, the team had no choice but to take ownership!

The Great Product Owner: The PO that stepped back so much, the team had no choice but to take ownership!

This PO was “annoyingly laissez-faire”, which at first irked Erik, but ultimately proved to be an asset for Erik and the team. The PO empowered the team in practice, by stepping back, and letting the team write their own User Stories, while at the same time being available to answer their questions.

In this segment, we talk about the movie “Master and Commander”.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that wanted to control everything about the team

This PO thought they knew better than anyone else. Even if Erik would be able to have a good conversation about Agile with the PO, when the time came, the PO would revert back to “controlling” everything the team was doing. Erik setup a retrospective with the PO about the issue they were facing, and tried to help the PO step back. They found a new way to organize the Backlog Refinement so that the PO would not be tempted to control the team. Listen in to learn about the tough conversations Erik had with the PO, and how he tried to help the team and 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 Erik de Bos

Erik is what you get when you take a trained scientist, who mastered Agile as a programmer and is now a Scrum Master. A pragmatic, analytic, systemic and critical personality who is completely focused on understanding the problem. Because once you understand the problem, the solution is easy.

You can link with Erik de Bos on LinkedIn and read Erik de Bos’ articles in Medium.

Wilson Govindji: How a Product Owner can take advantage of a technical background in the PO role

The Great Product Owner: Taking advantage of a technical background in the PO role

This PO had a product background, and a strong tech background, but that meant that the PO could communicate both with the team (technology people) and with the stakeholders (non-technology people). This background, instead of giving the PO overconfidence, helped with understanding the feedback, and look for more feedback. This PO was able to bring his past experience into the role, instead of replacing the responsibilities of a PO with the “fake” knowledge from his past experience.

The Bad Product Owner: When PO’s destroy the team’s ability to be productive

Product Owners are constantly faced with many problems, or challenges that they need to address. When they lack the ability to prioritize and learn from feedback, they stop being helpful for the team, and can create a lot of confusion. In this episode, we talk about yet another anti-pattern to add to the lack of ability to prioritize: when the PO is, at the same time over confident, and stops listening to feedback from users and stakeholders. Listen in, to learn how feedback, or lack thereof, can destroy the team’s ability to be productive.

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 Wilson Govindji

Wilson is a pragmatic Scrum Master, he has over 15 years in Software development and has worked in different roles, from Support Analyst, Developer to tech lead. Wilson is from Portugal, with Indian origins and currently living and working in the UK with his wife and two daughters.

You can link with Wilson Govindji on LinkedIn and follow Wilson Govindji’s blog on Medium, and follow Wilson Govindji on Instagram.

Jeremia Riedel: The Visionary Product Owner that was able to help the team own their Backlog

The Great Product Owner: The Visionary PO that was able to help the team own their Backlog

Great PO’s are often visionary. They have an idea of what they want to deliver and focus on conveying that to the team. They set the context for the Vision, and work from that Vision to explain the direction to the Scrum team. They don’t necessarily spend much time working on the backlog, because the teams are able to translate the Vision into the detailed stories to implement. Great PO’s focus on “what problem we should solve in the next iteration”!

In this segment, we talk about the Product Vision Canvas, and the Story Map tool.

The Bad Product Owner: The Requirements Manager

This particular PO acted like a requirements manager, focusing on collecting requirements from stakeholders, and doing whatever the customer had explained they wanted. However, for teams to be able to succeed, the PO role needs to be much more than a mere requirements collector and manager. In this segment, we discuss the role of Vision and the PO’s responsibility to go beyond merely writing down requirements.

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 Jeremia Riedel

Jeremia is an Agile Coach that describes himself as an Explorer, Enthusiast and Challenger.

You can link with Jeremia Riedel on LinkedIn, and read Jeremia Riedel’s blog on Medium.

Gurucharan Padki: Customer-centric Product Owners that destroy the team because of that

The Great Product Owner: Great PO’s are committed to the success of the team, not only their personal success

Great Product Owners are able to relate to the team members, and share their perspective on the future of the product. This particular PO, was able to talk to the team about the roadmap, and communicated the Vision for the product. Even if the team was distributed among several timezones, the PO was able to be in contact and available to the team. Great PO’s are committed to the success of the team, not only their own success.

The Bad Product Owner: Customer-centric PO’s that destroy the team because of that

This PO thought they were the boss of everyone, and tended to micro-manage the team. This particular PO was more focused on sales, and pushed all customer ideas to the team without concern for their feasibility or applicability to the product Vision. The PO heard the customers, but was unable to filter out the bad ideas from the good ones.

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 Gurucharan Padki

Gurucharan Padki comes with 18 years of experience in the IT industry, of which he has spent more than a decade in the Agile world delivering products, programs and projects with focus on engineering and quality . He has played the role of product owner, scrum master and agile coach in multiple organizations across India and the world driving transformations.

You can link with Gurucharan Padki on LinkedIn.

Bent Myllerup: Communicating the Vision as a tool to help the Scrum team perform

The Great Product Owner: Communicating the Vision to help the Scrum team perform

Bent starts by explaining how great Product Owners are able to communicate with all stakeholders, and share the Vision they have for the product they own. It helps if a PO also understands the domain well, even if we’ve seen in other episodes, that this is not always a must-have skill. This particular PO was also able to listen, and collaborate well with both the team and the stakeholders.

The Bad Product Owner: The proxy PO anti-pattern

This Product Owner did not have the mandate to be the PO. The PO was merely a proxy to other stakeholders that did not show up, or interact with the team. Great teams need the PO to be free to make decisions and be ready to negotiate with the team when certain things are not possible, or very costly.

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 Bent Myllerup

Bent Myllerup is a management consultant, organisational change agent and agile transformation coach with 20 years of personal experience in management and leadership. He holds a Master in Management Development (MMD) from Copenhagen Business School and a Bachelor in Science of Electronic Engineering. He was the first European Certified Scrum Coach and he is also a Certified Scrum Trainer.

You can link with Bent Myllerup on LinkedIn and connect with Bent Myllerup on Twitter.

Yousef T. Fahoum: Explaining the value of Agile ceremonies to the Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Explaining the value of ceremonies to the PO

Sometimes, the Product Owner does not understand why we have certain ceremonies. In that case, great Product Owners don’t try to change things immediately, but rather work with the Scrum Master to learn, and improve the situation. In this episode, we learn the story of the PO that did not want the team to “spend time” in a PI Planning Increment session (from SAFe), but as she worked with the Scrum Master her views changed drastically. Listen in to learn how Yousef helped the PO learn the value of the PI Planning session.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping the PO’s be more focused, and less disruptive to the Scrum team.

When the PO’s start to act as “the boss”, and ordering teams around, that’s never a good sign. But it can get a lot worse if the PO is also unfocused. In this episode, we learn about the “hair on fire” culture that some Product Owners bring to their teams, and how to recover from that.

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 Yousef T. Fahoum

When starting out as a ScrumMaster and BA years ago Yousef passionately followed the ScrumMaster Podcast. Yousef is a SAFe Enterprise Coach at Elabor8 with experience implementing Agile and SAFe at some of the largest and most recognized brand leaders across industry domains in the U.S. and Australia.

You can link with Yousef T. Fahoum on LinkedIn and connect with Yousef T. Fahoum on Twitter.

Julie Wyman: How to help unempowered Product Owners step up, and start to make decisions

The Great Product Owner: Two characteristics that make a great PO

This Product owner had two characteristics that made her a great Product Owner for the team. She had: a) domain expertise, and b) availability to work with the team. She also knew that it was important to involve others in making decisions and actively asked help from other experts when needed. She was also great at collecting feedback. 

The Bad Product Owner: Helping unempowered PO’s step up, and start to make decisions

This Product Owner was missing empowerment to make decisions. This was further complicated by the fact that the PO was part of a larger program, where there were multiple PO’s that also did not feel empowered. We discuss how to help these Product Owners slowly start to gain ownership, and assert their ability to make decisions.

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 Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

Jeroen de Jong: The Product Owner that “knows it all”, an anti-pattern to be aware of 

The Great Product Owner: Organized, and able to communicate the value and “why” for the stories in the backlog

Great Product Owners are able to keep everyone in the loop and engaged with the product development process. They share the “why” for the product ideas they want to move forward, they share the value of what is being done, and what was delivered in the previous sprint, but they are also organized and structured about their work, including the use of the Getting Things Done method which we talked about on the Tuesday episode. 

In this segment, we also refer to the Coach Your Product Owner e-course that we produced here at the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast, to help you work with the Product Owner. 

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that “knows it all” 

This PO thought they had nothing to learn. They acted as if they knew everything, even better than the team! This type of PO’s are more likely to want to “replace” the team and do things themselves, effectively killing collaboration in the process. 

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 Jeroen de Jong

Jeroen started his career as a self-employed jack-of-all-trades in IT and is passionate about Agile. He is determined to keep learning and to share his knowledge with others.

You can link with Jeroen de Jong on LinkedIn and connect with Jeroen de Jong on Twitter.

Steen Villumsen: Without a product strategy, the Product Owner brings only confusion

The Great Product Owner: Quick decisions, and excellent at collaboration

A great Product Owner knows the value they bring to the team and the stakeholders. They work with stakeholders and the team to make decisions, and  are not afraid to challenge some decisions. Finally, we talk about the PO’s as critical success enablers for the team, and how Scrum Masters can work with the PO’s to define success for the team and the product. 

The Bad Product Owner: Without a strategy, the PO brings only confusion

When Product Owners lack a strategy for their product, they create more than confusion for the team. In some cases, they become mere list managers, and don’t bring the insight the teams need to the work. In this segment, we discuss how important it is to help Product Owners that are stuck in these anti-patterns, as their performance directly affects the teams we work with. 

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 Steen Villumsen

Steen is an Agile Coach, who calls himself a conceptualiser and a communicator. His focus is on moving people and supporting change through coaching.

You can link with Steen Villumsen on LinkedIn.

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