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.

Luís Santos Silva: ​​Helping teams succeed, a key task for the Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Helping teams succeed, a key task for the PO

As Luís puts it: “We underestimate how hard it is to be a PO”, which is one more reason to be happy when we get to work with an example Product Owner. We should be highlighting, and talking a lot more about how to become a great PO, because it is so difficult! Luís shares how this PO worked with the team to tackle their biggest challenge: long time to release. The PO understood that, and helped the team remove work from each release for the team to be able to release in time. 

In this segment, we talk about the Opportunity Solution tree by Teresa Torres (check this podcast episode with Teresa), which borrows from a Theory Of Constraints tool: the current reality tree.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that was afraid to own the problems to be solved

When we look at Product Owner related anti-patterns, we should be aware that many of those are usually “systemic”, in other words, they usually originate from other areas of the company. In this segment, we talk about the PO’s that are afraid to own the problems the product is supposed to solve. They stick only to the backlog of stories, and miss the big picture. The second, critical, anti-pattern we discuss is forgetting about “outcomes”, and instead focusing on functionality. Luís suggests that we should help PO’s focus on goals first, so that outcomes are not forgotten.

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 Luís Santos Silva

Luís is not your typical Agile Coach as he doesn’t have an IT background. He worked his way from a contact center up to Lean and Agile Coach and is now a Agile Coach team lead at OutSystems.

You can link with Luís Santos Silva on LinkedIn

Bevan Williams: From Absent to Awesome! A Product Owner transformation story

The Great Product Owner: From Absent to Awesome! A PO transformation story

This Product Owner was absent at first. A common anti-pattern for PO’s. The PO was spread over 5 teams. That’s when Bevan got together with the PO and asked: “how do we solve this together?” Listen in to learn how this PO went from being absent, to being a great PO with the help of Bevan! 

In this segment, we refer to intent based leadership by David Marquet, who’s been a guest on the podcast. 

The Bad Product Owner: Solving the absent PO anti-pattern.

This Product Owner was often absent, a common anti-pattern in larger organizations. To make it even harder, this PO was only assigned to the role part-time. The team was sorely missing answers that would help them progress. What can we do in these situations? Bevan shares some of the solutions he’s tried to solve the Absent PO anti-pattern. 

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 Bevan Williams

Bevan is an Agile Coach & Trainer at Think Agile. His career has been driven by his passion of creating inclusive environments where people can be at their best. 

You can link with Bevan Williams on LinkedIn and connect with Bevan Williams on Twitter.

Pratik Dahule: How to help a Product Owner bring the right amount of work to a Scrum team

The Great Product Owner: Present and thorough, two great PO qualities

This Product Owner had the customer and end users in mind, and was very thorough in their preparation of the stories. The PO was present at all times and helped the team during refinement. This helped the team understand the scope, and break down enough the stories and epics they had to work on. 

The Bad Product Owner: How to help a PO bring the right amount of work to a team

When Product Owners force teams to take on more work, that’s never a good sign. And this PO was no exception to that rule. Additionally, the PO seemed unaware of how much they had already asked the team to take on, leading the team to burn out, and to have quality problems. Pratik understood that this anti-pattern had to stop, and he explains how he helped the PO and the stakeholders to find a new way of working with the team. In this segment, we also refer to User Story Mapping, a technique all Scrum Masters should bring to their work!

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 Pratik Dahule

Pratik is an Agile Project Manager and Agile enthusiast working in the USA. He leads teams and creates a culture of lifelong learning, constant collaboration and continuous improvement. Pratik has 12 years of experience and is passionate about helping teams in their agile transformation. Outside of work, he has a blogging site ClassactLifestyle.com where he shares insights on books and exotic places to travel.

You can link with Pratik Dahule on LinkedIn

Daniel Lutz: The Product Owner as a Visionary, and a great team leader

The Great Product Owner: The PO as a Visionary, and a great team leader

When a Product Owner is able to define and communicate a Vision for the product, and the impact it brings to the customer, this is a Visionary Product Owner. Great PO’s look into the future, but are also able to be present with the team and help them solve day-to-day issues. In this story, we also talk about the importance of involving the team in communication with the stakeholders, and helps the team feel as responsible as the PO themselves for the success of the product. 

The Bad Product Owner: The dishonest, and absent Product Owner

This particular Product Owner was not honest with the stakeholders. They promised something to the stakeholders, even if that was not what was agreed with the team. They focused on “looking good”, but not spending time with the team. Combined with their day-to-day absence from the team, this created a failure-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 Daniel Lutz

Daniel is an organizational agile coach, working full time at a leading European Energy company, scaling agile with around 30 agile teams. After years in Marketing departments, he realized how much more impact he can have as a Scrum Master by empowering people and building cross-functional teams. He also works part-time as a freelance coach and business consultant helping clients on building high performing teams.

You can link with Daniel Lutz on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lutz on Twitter.

Luis Carvalho: What leads to a break-up between a Scrum team and their Product Owner?

The Great Product Owner: The PO that protected the team, and focused on the product, not the process

A new PO came along to this team, and the contrast with the previous PO was huge. The new PO was a product-led person. Did not focus too much on the process, but relied on the team and Scrum Master to help with that. This PO focused on setting the direction and helping the team with decisions, and had a specific superpower that helped the team greatly: he kept the time pressure away from the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The break-up between team and PO

This Product Owner did not see himself as part of the team. This led to some anti-patterns, such as the PO treating the team as a “provider”, and focusing on writing and “sending” requirements to the team. This led to difficulties in communication, such as during refinement sessions and eventually led to a practical break-up between the PO and the team. From this story, Luis took a critical lesson. 

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 Luis Carvalho

Luis is an enthusiast for all things related with organizations, teams, structures and ways of working. He has been working in large scale consumer products for most of his professional life, worked with people of many backgrounds, cultures and locations and made many friends in the process. He loves traveling, food and getting to know people.

You can link with Luis Carvalho on LinkedIn.

Nick Nielsen: The Product Owner that knew how to nurture an Agile culture in the team

The Great Product Owner: The PO that knew how to nurture an Agile culture in the team

This Product Owner had a clear willingness to learn, and to accept a new role that was new to them. Through that, the PO was able to help build an agile culture, a culture of “being agile” instead of “doing agile”. In this episode, we hear how a team is an ecosystem and has its own culture that needs to be nurtured by the Scrum Master, and the Product Owner.

The Bad Product Owner: When the PO’s lose focus on value, a PO anti-pattern

This PO was not able to focus on the value the team was helping to create. When this anti-pattern happens, then the team ends up being focused on “just doing the work”, and is not able to bring their technology perspective into the creation of a clear value, or impact on the user. 

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 Nick Nielsen

Nick completed his education at Aarhus University in Denmark and currently works in the Digital Organisation at Grundfos, the worlds biggest pump manufacturer. He views him self as a pragmatic Agile Handyman.

You can link with Nick Nielsen on LinkedIn and connect with Nick Nielsen on Twitter.