Dov Tsal: The Product Owner that did not know what she owned

Lack of details can be a motivator for the team to bring their creative thinking. Great Product Owners can take advantage of that. In this episode, we also discuss what happens when the PO doesn’t really know what they own.

The Great Product Owner: Bring a problem, and solve it with the team

Great Product Owners inspire the team to think of solutions the PO could not think of. To do that, they share the context and pain of the customer and leave the details out, so that the team asks questions, and starts imagining what the successful outcome would look like. In this segment, we also discuss how important it is that the PO gives time, and space to the team so they can work on the problem the PO brings to the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO who does not know what he owns

Sometimes, the Product Owner isn’t clear on what exactly they own. In those cases, the team can’t be clear either on what they are trying to achieve. This lack of clarity can come from the fact that the PO “hat” is thrown to someone who isn’t right for the job, and may even have a few other “side” jobs they need to attend to. Are these characteristics present in your PO? Listen in, to learn how Dov suggests we tackle these PO anti-patterns.

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 Dov Tsal

Dov Tsal is a versatile agile coach, scrum-master, change-agent, and enabler, helping companies teams, and individuals to make an impact. Dov is also the creator of the #MeetingSpicer, a coaching tool to hack meeting culture. He is also the co-creator of The Agile Tao Podcast about understanding agility through the Taoist prism.

You can link with Dov Tsal on LinkedIn

Kyla MacDonald: The Product Owner as a Scrum team member, not only team stakeholder

Looking at the Product Owner in relation to the team is a critical aspect of our assessment when coming into a new team. In this episode, we talk about the PO that was absent, and let the team alone, and contrast that with a PO that saw herself as a team member and how that changed the perspective the team had on the PO role. 

The Great Product Owner: PO as a team member, not only team stakeholder

This Product Owner believed that the team needed to share her vision and never missed a chance to share the purpose and the vision with the team. The PO also made sure that all the team members were heard, and role-modeled the idea of experimentation, and learning from exposing ideas to customers. Finally, the PO assumed the role of a team member, not a team stakeholder. 

The Bad Product Owner: Helping the PO focus on value and delight for customers

We’ve discussed often here on the podcast how “being absent” is one of the most common, and most dangerous Product Owner anti-patterns (see this article on how to solve that anti-pattern). But there’s an even worse variation that mixes in the “belief” that Agile will solve all the problems the team has, which leads the PO to step back even further. In this segment, we talk about how to bring the PO back into the conversation with the team and focus on value and delight for 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 Kyla MacDonald

Kyla imagines a world where the talk at Friday drinks is all about the great things we achieved in the week, what we learned, and what we can try next. As she puts it, people who find satisfaction, meaning, fun, and growth in their work, will naturally be in a better position to find the same in their home life. The thing that excites Kyla the most about agile is how concepts and principles apply to any and every area of your life. Which for her is running, paragliding and life on her hobby farm (they call it a lifestyle block in NZ).

You can link with Kyla MacDonald on LinkedIn and connect with Kyla MacDonald on Twitter.

Philip Rogers: Shared ownership in the Scrum Product Backlog

In this episode, we talk about how an empathic Product Owner can make a big difference when working with Scrum teams. We also discuss how Product Backlogs are really owned by the PO and the team, not only the PO.

The Great Product Owner: Empathy, and handling pressure, key PO skills

A team will quickly notice if the Product Owner has empathy, which is a critical asset for Product Owners that want to succeed. A great PO will also know how to communicate with the team, so that they can work on handling the inevitable delivery pressure that will affect both the team and the Product Owner. Finally, we discuss how great Product Owners are proactive about involving stakeholders. 

In this episode, we talk about the #NoEstimates approach to determining release dates (We’ve also discuss the #NoEstimates ideas in these episodes).

 

The Bad Product Owner: Sharing the ownership of the backlog

Philip shares with us why he thinks that there is widespread confusion about the Product Owner role. Many think that it is only the Product Owner that writes / maintains the backlog. However, really great teams understand that the PO is only one of the people that ensures the backlog is ready and up to the necessary level for the team. We also discuss what we can do, as Scrum Masters, to help teams and Product Owners own the backlog together. In this episode, we also talk about the idea of the “3 amigos” session to refine product backlog items (we’ve covered the 3 amigos sessions and approach in these episodes).

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 Philip Rogers

Phil is a father of four children and a volunteer paleontologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is also an “agile whisperer” (coach) who has worked with scores of teams in the spirit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and simply finding creative ways to collaborate and have fun in the workplace.

You can link with Philip Rogers on LinkedIn and connect with Philip Rogers on Twitter.

Evelien Acun-Roos: Unfocused, solution-centric, part-time Product Owner, a recipe for failure

In this episode, we share some of the most critical anti-patterns in the Product Owner role.

The Great Product Owner: Constantly seeking to learn

This Product Owner was a “team player”, worked with the team closely, and did not try to establish a position of superiority. The PO made the roadmap visible to all, and was great at involving the stakeholders in product decisions. But the PO did not stop there, and actively searched for training, to learn even more about the Product Owner role!

The Bad Product Owner: Unfocused, solution-centric, part-time Product Owner, a recipe for failure

This Product Owner was not able to focus, the engineering background didn’t help in this case, as the PO was constantly drifting into discuss solutions instead of sharing the “what” and “why” that would help the team find the right solution. But the biggest anti-pattern is when the PO can’t even dedicate their whole time to the role of PO. 

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 Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.

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