Rahul Bhattacharya from Micro-managing to engaging the team, a critical shift for Product Owners

In this episode, we talk about 2 extremes of team engagement by Product Owners: from micro-managing to asking questions and involving the team.

The Great Product Owner: Asking Questions to involve the team

Good Product Owners allow the team to participate and contribute their views when planning the Sprint. In this segment, we talk about Great Product Owners, those that not only allow, but encourage the team to bring their view into planning and defining the product.

We also discuss how asking questions is a critical tool for Product Owners to get teams engaged in the development of the product.

In this segment, we talk about transactional analysis, a tool that can help Scrum Masters recognize when the Product Owner needs help in involving the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The micro-managing Product Owner

When Product Owners “take over” the planning aspects they miss the team’s contribution, and likely motivation. However, there is an even more serious anti-pattern for Product Owners: being a micro-manager. In this segment, we discuss the dangers of over-controlling Product Owners, and how Scrum Masters should react in those cases.

 

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 Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at trivago. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback.

He is also the host of a podcast about Agile, called the Agile Atelier.

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter.

Ines Stuppacher: The super-fast PO who got up to speed with the team in 1 Sprint!

In this episode, we talk about one of the most common anti-patterns for PO’s: being too busy, and we also discuss how PO’s can get up to speed in one sprint when they join a new team.

The Great Product Owner: The Goal-Oriented PO

In this segment, we talk about a new PO. The PO had just joined the company and had to learn quickly. Instead of spending a lot of time reading and asking people, this PO did something different. This PO engaged the team directly and with their help got off to a great start in just one sprint.

The Bad Product Owner: The Proxy PO 

When teams don’t have direct access to the “customer” PO, they usually resort to using a “proxy PO”. Someone close to the team, that acts as a communication link with the end customer and real PO. However, sometimes those Proxy PO’s have to fulfill other duties, and may even need to serve multiple teams. How can we help teams when that happens? 

In this episode, we talk about how to help super busy-PO’s and teams that suffer from their absence. We’ve also produced a guide, that helps you, step-by-step get to an agreement of how to collaborate with overly busy or absent PO’s. You can get the guide on how to work with absent or overly busy Product Owners here.

 

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 Stuppacher

Ines Stuppacher is a passionate team coach and Scrum Master. Working with people challenges and inspires her every day. Her coaching mentality is an important pillar of her life and work. Ines does not impose things on people but rather sees herself as a waiter of options. She strives to show up as her full human self in all kinds of situations and with that fosters real connections with other people.

You can link with Ines Stuppacher on LinkedIn or XING and connect with Ines Stuppacher on Twitter

Ben Clark: The empowering Product Owner

In this episode, we talk about 2 contrasting patterns, one that focused on allowing the team to grow and own the product, while the other was taking on too much responsibility and not letting the team feel ownership of the product. 

The Great Product Owner: Empower the Scrum Team

Sometimes, the PO has a Scrum Master perspective and is able to understand how to work with teams so that the teams feel empowered to pick up stories and collaborate better. We usually say “the team can be only as good as the Product Owner”, and in this segment, we explore what this great PO did to help the team feel empowered and engaged.

The Bad Product Owner: Overly detailed PO’s take responsibility away from the team

When the Product Owners come to the backlog refinement/grooming meeting with the stories completely fleshed out, it’s easy to accept the stories as they are. Not to challenge or further refine them. That’s not always a good thing. The team feels the Product is “somebody else’s responsibility”, the opposite of what we want. In this segment, we discuss what Scrum Masters can do to help the team take responsibility, and avoid having too much product knowledge locked in the PO’s head.

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 Ben Clark

Ben’s career has spanned from working assembly at Ford Motor Co, IT consulting, DSL Internet provider using wireless building-to-building antennas, systems administration and engineering, data center floor work, DevOps, cloud engineering, cloud architecture, scrum master, people-leader, and agile coach.

Ben is now an Agile Coach. 

You can link with Ben Clark on LinkedIn and connect with Ben Clark on Twitter.

Dragana Hadzic: How to deal with an Absent or Overly busy PO

From passionate Product Owners to the Product Owners that are MIA (Missing in Action), we talk about two aspects that directly affect the team’s performance.

The Great Product Owner: The Passionate Product Owner

Great Product Owners are often passionate about the product they work on. In this segment we talk about a PO that was able to give that passion to the team, making them an great team. In this segment we also about User Story Mapping, a method popularized by Jeff Patton (Jeff has been a previous guest on the podcast) that helps the team and PO understand the context of the User Stories they are implementing. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Absent Product Owner

Working with a Proxy Product Owner is bad enough, however, then that PO doesn’t have time to work daily with the team, things get even worse! We’ve discussed this anti-pattern before here on the blog, and have created a guide for you to help those product owners. Get the guide on how to work with absent or overly busy Product Owners here.

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 Dragana Hadzic

Dragana is an agile enthusiast who believes communication is critical for success in everything, including software projects. A Scrum Master and an Agile Coach with broad experience in IT industry and different leadership roles. Passionate about everything that brings positive energy and enables people to achieve great results.

You can link with Dragana Hadzic on LinkedIn and connect with Dragana Hadzic on Twitter

Isaac Garcia: The HUGE impact of the Scrum Master – Product Owner collaboration

In this episode, we focus on the collaboration between Product Owner and Scrum Master, possibly one of the most important collaborations in the Scrum team’s environment. And in the end, there’s a BIG SURPRISE. Listen closely to this episode!

The Great Product Owner: Collaborating well with Scrum Master

Scrum Masters and Product Owners need to collaborate well to help the team. And a great PO is also one that is able to push forward that collaboration. In this segment, we talk about the PO that was constantly trying to improve their understanding of Agile (even if they didn’t have a long Agile background), and was able to bring ideas to help the Scrum Master keep the team motivated and focused on the product. 

The Bad Product Owner: the PO that sabotages the Scrum Master’s work 

Nothing is harder for a Scrum Master than a Product Owner that actively disregards their ideas and advice. In this segment, we explore such a case and how that impacted the team and the Scrum Master. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

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 Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

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

David Gentry: The team manager that was also a Product Owner, a Product Owner role Anti-Pattern

This week we share simple, yet effective Product Owner patterns and discuss the anti-pattern that can emerge when the PO is also the team manager.

The Great Product Owner: simple patterns with a great impact

Great Product Owners have a strong identification with the product. They can say “no” to certain ideas, but above all, they see themselves as much more than owners of a list we call Product Backlog. 

These are just some of the good patterns great Product Owners exhibit, but there are more. Listen in to find out what are the other good patterns David has found in highly effective Product Owners. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Product Owner that was also the team manager

Many of the Product Owner anti-patterns come from the role they play in the organization. In this segment, we talk about the Product Owner that was also a team manager, and how those two roles can become a source for problems when they are held by the same person.

In this segment, we refer to Product Mastery, by Geoff Watts. Geoff has been on the podcast before to talk about great Scrum Masters and Product Owners. We also refer to the book by Bob Galen: Scrum Product Ownership: Balancing Value from the Inside Out.

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 David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility. 

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter.

Long Suciu: setting clear goals, a trait Great Product Owners share

This week we talk about the dictator Product Owner and the Product Owner that enables his team by helping them set clear and understandable goals.

The Product Owner Anti-pattern for the week: The mistrusting dictator anti-pattern

Trust between the Product Owner and the team is critical. When there’s a lack of trust, the PO is tempted to control instead of listening to the team. As Scrum Masters, we must look out for the signs that there’s no trust between PO and team, and act on it.

The Great PO pattern for the week: Focusing on clear and understandable goals

There are many things that great Product Owners do, but one of the most relevant is to set clear, and understandable goals for the team. In Great Product Owner segment, we talk about goals and collaboration. We also talk about how Great Product Owners distribute decisions to the team and rely on the team to help them in their work.

 

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 Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras: How to foster collaboration between the Scrum team and Product Owner

This week, the discussion about the Product Owner role is all about collaboration with the team.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

With two guests this week, we also cover 2 examples of a good Product Owner. Firstly, we talk about the importance of bringing information and data to the team to help them understand and be part of the decision making for the product.

Secondly, we talk about the need for Product Owners to allow the team to give their input, and be heard when it comes to product decisions. Great Product Owners allow their teams to contribute their own ideas and therefore feel invested in the success of the product.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

The two anti-patterns we discuss this week are related to the collaboration (or lack thereof) between the team and Product Owner.

The first anti-pattern is about the Product Owner that was an outside “customer” (from another department) to the team. When that happens, there’s the temptation to let the PO lead, and not challenge them. Collaboration happens when the PO brings their view, listens, and then makes decisions together with the team.

The second anti-pattern is about the Product Owner as an expert. When the PO is an expert, they might feel they have to bring in all the answers, and therefore make it more difficult for the team to feel ownership and contribute to the product. It can also happen that the PO becomes a micro-manager. All signs to look out for.

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 Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

You can link with Katy Cabral on LinkedIn.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

You can link with Joseph Contreras on LinkedIn.

Nick Vitsinsky on how PO’s can prepare for meetings with the team

We explore the technical-dictator Product Owner anti-pattern and also talk about how great Product Owners get ready and come prepared for the meetings with the teams.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

When Product Owners come prepared to the meeting, you know they are doing their job well. They bring numbers, the rationale behind certain decisions, maybe even different options for priority to be chosen based on the feedback from the team. In this episode, we refer to the work by Jeff Patton and Jeff Gothelf, who’ve both been on the podcast before. You can find Jeff Patton’s Podcast episode here. You can find Jeff Gothelf’s podcast episode here.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

Many Product Owners come from a technical background. This means that they know a lot about the technical aspects the team needs to consider. However, when the PO starts to question the team’s estimates or decisions, that’s a recipe for failure. Listen to how Nick handles that situation, and get some tools and practices you can apply right away!

 

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 Nick Vitsinsky

Nick as more than 10 years in IT started from QA Engineer/Waterfall after two years realized that there should be a different approach to how to develop and ship the software. His philosophy and mindset is: “find out Agile and make it own moto”. He focuses on that on a daily basis.

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

Mili Shrivastava: When Product Owners can have multiple roles

We explore the absent Product Owner anti-pattern and discuss a case when it was OK to have the Product Owner also play the role of a developer in the team.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

We often hear that the Product Owner cannot be a developer at the same time. However, in some cases, that’s not a problem. In this episode, we talk about the Product Owner that was also a developer, and what made that PO a great PO despite the dual role.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

When the Product Owner is too busy, the team suffers. In this episode, we talk about the anti-pattern of the absent Product Owner, and how Scrum Masters can help the team and the Product Owner in that 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 Mili Shrivastava

Mili has more than 12 years of experience in the software industry. Loves to spend time with her family and is a big fan of outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

You can link with Mili Shrivastava on LinkedIn and connect with Mili Shrivastava on Twitter.