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.