Wouter Gheysen: Physical and emotional distance, the destroyers of the Scrum Product Owner effectiveness

In this episode, we discuss how distance, both physical and otherwise, can help build or destroy the relationship between the Product Owner and the team.

The Great Product Owner: The emotionally available Product Owner

Great Product Owners are emotionally available to the team. That’s the first characteristic we discuss in this episode, where we also explore the role of having a Vision for the product, as well as knowing how to negotiate with stakeholders, and helping the Scrum Master protect the team from interference. 

The Bad Product Owner: Physical and emotional distance, the destroyers of the Product Owner effectiveness

This Product Owner was sitting 5 floors above the team (literally). He was not available for the team to ask questions or interact with. The physical distance a PO builds with their team also transforms into emotional/relationship distance and destroys the collaboration that is so critical. We share some tips on how to overcome that distance between team and Product Owner.

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 Wouter Gheysen

Wouter is a creative generalist with a broad area of interest beyond agility, a focus on people, and working with teams. He is a coach, guide and life long learner with a keen interest in facilitation, design thinking and systemic coaching.

You can link with Wouter Gheysen on LinkedIn and connect with Wouter Gheysen on Twitter

Kamal Hans: The “messenger” Scrum Product Owner

The messages that the PO passes to the team are critical. Even when the PO is being a “messenger” there are different types of messages that they pass to the team. We talk about two contrasting ways to be that “messenger”, one that works, and one that doesn’t

The Great Product Owner: Explaining the “why” of the User Stories

When we describe a great Product Owner, we focus on how they help the team learn about the customer, and “why” they are asked to deliver certain functionality. We also discuss how great PO’s make themselves available to the team when necessary

The Bad Product Owner: The “messenger” Product Owner

This particular PO was acting like a “messenger”. The PO would show up to the meetings and say “we need to deliver this because this executive said so”. There was a lack of Vision or “why” that functionality was being asked for, and that lead to the team feeling disengaged. In this segment, we talk about what a Scrum Master can do in such a situation. 

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 Kamal Hans

Kamal Hans believes people are capable of incredible things if they have the support they need. He is at his best when he gets to connect people with each other and their vision, create a structure of support, build a system to achieve their goals to accomplish bigger things than themselves. As an Agile Coach and disciplined facilitator, he has worked with global organizations like Ericsson, and Bose to name a few. 

You can link with Kamal Hans on LinkedIn and connect with Kamal Hans on Twitter

Nagesh Sharma: The “broken telephone” Product Owner

Communication with the team about the product is one of the key skills for a Product Owner, in this episode we talk about two different types of PO and how their communication affects the teams they work with.

The Great Product Owner: The Product CEO

This particular Product Owner took on the role of the CEO of the product. The PO was able to stand up to ideas coming from higher-ups in the organization because the Vision was clear and articulated. In this segment, we refer to the Create a Compelling Product Vision e-course by the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

The Bad Product Owner: The “broken telephone” PO

Sometimes, the PO’s become mere “broken” telephones between other parts of the organization and the team. When that happens, the team misses the direction and Vision for the product, and the messages get mixed up and misscommunicated. In this segment, we refer to the Elevator Pitch template that helps PO’s create a crisp definition of the Vision for the product. 

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 Nagesh Sharma

Nagesh is a Professional Scrum Trainer by Scrum.org, He is Co-Founder & CEO of Flowsphere India. His mission drives him in increasing the joy and accomplishment people feel with agile ways of working. Nagesh is a Management 3.0 & collaboration Superpowers Facilitator. Trained more than 3000 people across the globe and an active speaker at various international conferences.

You can link with Nagesh Sharma on LinkedIn and connect with Nagesh Sharma on Twitter

Rob Cooper: The Product Owner that was “far” from the Scrum team

The relationship between the Product Owner and the team is a critical aspect of the team’s performance. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting perspectives on building that relationship between PO and team.

The Great Product Owner: Deliberately building a relationship with the team

Great PO’s deliberately build a relationship with the team, but always have a clear idea of what the customer needs. Putting those two together, the PO is able to very clear about what they need to do to help the team deliver on the product vision. We also discuss how the PO is very much a leadership role. 

In this segment, we refer to the concept of Lateral Leadership

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that was “far” from the Scrum team

This story starts with a team that had 2 Product Owners. And even if both PO’s were passionate and wanted to do a good job, Rob noticed that the Business PO was very far from the team. In this segment, we discuss how the Product Owner is an “outreach” role, which tries to bring the team and the customer closer together. 

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 Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Susannah Chambers: Involving the team, an asset for great Scrum Product Owners

The way the PO involves the team in their work and decisions can make or break the collaboration between team and PO. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting approaches, and why the effective involvement of the team in the work of the PO is so important.

The Great Product Owner: User Experience focused PO

This particular Product Owner was very much focused on user experience, and that helped the team also focus on that aspect of their work. During meetings with the team, the PO constantly brought up the value they were trying to “drive” for the customer. 

In this segment, we refer to an approach Susannah calls “Metrics and Chill”. Listen in to learn what that is about.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that would have conversations without the team

Product Owners can help, or hinder the teams’ work. In this segment, we talk about a PO that would turn all blame on the team, and would have conversations with stakeholders without the team knowing about it, or being informed. This inevitably led to bad surprises that the team wasn’t ready for, and then was blamed for. Listen to these anti-patterns to learn to detect them before it is too late!

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 Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Serge Huybrechts: Value-centered Product Ownership for Scrum teams

From value-centered product ownership to interruption-based product ownership, two contrasting patterns we must be aware of.

The Great Product Owner: Value-centered, and able to communicate that to the Scrum team

A great PO has the mindset that they are there to understand and serve the customer with the help of the team. The great PO knows the environment (both inside the company and the customer’s environment); knows the customer very well, and most importantly understands how to bring that information to the team. Finally, the great PO has conversations centered around the idea of “value” for the customer and the company.

The Bad Product Owner: Interrupting the team and causing them to fail

This particular PO kept bringing new things to the sprint late in the process: “This has to go in as well” was the key phrase. This PO was heavily influenced by influential salespeople in the organization. All of this led the team to never finish the work they started. 

In this segment, we refer to the episodes with John Albrecht, who’s been a guest here on the podcast.

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 Serge Huybrechts

Serge is a Scrum Master, Agile coach, and trainer with a long background in IT Service Management. He considers himself a guide for continuous improvement where Agile, Scrum, and Kanban are the vehicles. Serge loves Agile because of its focus on people and learning resonates with him. 

He also calls himself a bulimic reader and very passionate about music.

You can link with Serge Huybrechts on LinkedIn

Ines Garcia: The 3 characteristics great Product Owners have

There are characteristics we see over and over again in great product owners, we discuss those with Ines, and we cover User Story Mapping, a technique to help PO’s improve their game.

The Great Product Owner: 3 characteristics for great Product Owners

Ines describes for us 3 characteristics for great Product Owners which help the teams to understand the context and impact of their work, to feel motivated to contribute to the product, as well as to understand all the necessary details before committing to do the work.

The Bad Product Owner: The Busy, Bossy and Absent PO

In this segment, we talk about the PO  that was just a broken telephone for the team, and on top of that was bossy and too busy to answer questions. When you see these characteristics in the PO, what do you do? We discuss some approaches that might help, and discuss the Story Mapping technique (See here for a fully defined facilitation guide for the Story Mapping workshop).

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 Ines Garcia

Ines is an Agile Coach, a Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP-SM), and a Salesforce MVP. She focuses on helping organizations every day to become more Agile whilst delivering Salesforce technology. She consults, speaks, and trains in these arenas always with the end in mind of enabling an evolution (not revolution).

You can link with Ines Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Ines Garcia on Twitter.

Check out Ines’ books on Amazon.

Omar McNeil: Helping Product Owners develop their relationship with the Scrum team

The availability of the PO is a critical aspect of the dynamic between team and PO. Through our work, we can help the PO establish a powerful collaboration with the team.

The Great Product Owner: Developing the team’s relationship with the PO

A great PO is available for the team to ask questions, and through that presence helps create a positive and energizing relationship with the team. Thanks to this presence, the team and the PO had a constant and quick feedback cycle established that helped them create a working collaboration.

The Bad Product Owner: Working with an absent PO

The background of what is going on with the Product Owner outside the work with our team can give us critical clues as to why they might be absent from the team’s ceremonies. In this segment, we talk about a specific type of “absent” PO, the PO that was involved in multiple projects. 

If you want to know how to help scale up the Product Owner role, check the e-course that helps you Coach Your PO, which includes a module specifically to handle this anti-pattern: bit.ly/coachyourpo.

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 Omar McNeil

Omar is a Principal Agile Practitioner at Red Hat. Prior to Red Hat, Omar worked in the Federal Government space as an Agile Practitioner Consultant, Project Manager, and Scrum Master. He has a passion for helping teams create a collaborative and safe environment, participating in Agile Communities, and coaching. 

You can link with Omar McNeil on LinkedIn and connect with Omar McNeil on Twitter

Sarah Finn: Learning to say “no” to stakeholders, a critical PO lesson

Product Owners that learn to be available to the team, and need to learn to say “no” to stakeholders are the two aspects of product ownership we talk about in this PO episode. 

The Great Product Owner: Helping PO’s learn to work with the Scrum team

Great Product Owners are able to make time to talk with the teams, and to be available when they have questions, and topics to discuss. But we should not forget that part of our job as Scrum Masters is to make sure the PO fully understands their role in the team. 

In this segment, we refer to the results of the PO survey we ran a few years back, which lists the 7 most common Product Onwer anti-patterns

The Bad Product Owner: Learning to say “no” to stakeholders, a critical PO lesson

The toughest part of the PO job is to be able to say “no” so that the team (and the PO) can focus on the right things for the product and the customer. When a PO is unable to push back, and say “no” to stakeholders, many anti-patterns develop. The reason is simple: there are always many, many ideas of what could be done, but most will never add value to the product and customers. 

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 Sarah Finn

Sarah Finn is an Agile Coach, within an Agile Practice Team in Red Hat. Sarah currently works with an open-source community facing team called “The Community Platform Engineering Team”. Sarah also helps co-manage the Agile DevOps Community of Practice. Sarah believes by simply creating a safe environment for discussion & collaboration can open up so many opportunities to work together towards continuous improvement.

You can link with Sarah Finn on LinkedIn and connect with Sarah Finn on Twitter.

Ravi Jay: Leadership skills for Scrum Product Owners

Leadership is one of the key set of skills that we must help PO’s master. When working with PO’s we must pay attention to their ability to work with multiple different stakeholders.

The Great Product Owner: Leadership skills for Scrum PO’s

Leadership is one of the key skills that Product Owners need to develop. After all, their work depends on many people making the right decisions for the products they own. In this segment, we talk about some of those aspects of leadership that Product Owners must be good at.

The Bad Product Owner: Playing the PO role, a first-person story

When Ravi played the PO role, he experienced how hard it was to take his own advice. We discuss some of the most difficult aspects of the PO role, and some of the signs of problems to look out for as Scrum Masters.

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 Ravi Jay

Ravi started his career as a Mainframes developer in 2004 and was introduced to agility in 2007. He went from hating Scrum Masters to loving Kanban very quickly but became a believer in agile methods after learning by losing money implementing SAFe in his London-based startup in 2011. Over 16 years, Ravi has specialized in driving value out of complex software, hardware, firmware and organizational change programs using various large-scale agile and traditional methods across industries. He enjoys spending time coaching and building teams that create products, people love to use.

You can link with Ravi Jay on LinkedIn and connect with Ravi Jay on Twitter.