Lakshmi Ramaseshan: 4 critical aspects that great Product Owners bring to the team

In this episode, we talk about the consequences of having overly-detailed Product Owners, and we discuss 4 critical aspects that great Product Owners bring to the team.

The Great Product Owner: The 4 key aspects of great Product Owners.

A new PO joined the team that Lakshmi was working with, and brought a different perspective. One that helped the team feel their views were listened to and respected. This PO was excellent at four different aspects necessary for the PO role: being a Product Manager, a Project Manager, a Business Analyst, and a leader for the team. 

The Bad Product Owner: From prescriptive to collaborative, a PO transformation

“The Product Owner is the toughest role in the team” Lakshmi starts when introducing this story, in which we explore the anti-pattern of a PO that was super detail-oriented, and prescriptive. The team was feeling demoralized by that attitude, and here is where Lakshmi introduced a different perspective. She introduced the idea of running an experiment on the way the team and PO collaborated. Listen in to learn what that experiment was, and how it can help PO’s learn to trust and listen to the team.

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 Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

You can link with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on LinkedIn and connect with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on Twitter.

Daniel Lenhart: Turning Product Owner fears into better collaboration tools

PO’s can be overly prescriptive when they feel unsure about certain aspects of the product. In this episode, we share tips about how to turn those fears into collaboration boosters.

The Great Product Owner: Setting boundaries to encourage the teams to make decisions on their own

Good PO’s are able to communicate the vision and ideas behind the stories in a way that the teams will even repeat their words when discussing how to implement the stories they work on. But great PO’s are also available to the team then the team needs and is able to say “no, that’s your decision, not mine” to the teams that feel insecure and try to get the PO to make all the decisions, even implementation technical details. 

The Bad Product Owner: Turning PO fears into better collaboration tools

A Product Owner with technical knowledge can be a blessing for a team that requires more support when creating their User Stories, however, that’s not always the case. In this segment, we talk about the Technical PO that could not stop telling the team “how” they should work and develop the solutions the PO had in mind. In this segment, we talk about how we can work with those Technical PO’s and help them turn their fears and anxieties into tools for better collaboration with their teams.

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 Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

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

Steve Silbert: Helping the Scrum team “speak” the PO language

The collaboration between team and PO is one of the aspects we focus on as Scrum Masters, and in this episode, we talk about 2 major perspectives that can help the collaboration emerge.

The Great Product Owner: When even the code “speaks” the PO’s language

In this episode, we learn about a PO that was able (with Steve’s help) to start creating a mental universe with the team that helped them understand the customer at such a deep level that the team even started naming their Java classes based on the personas they were trying to serve. A great example of bringing the PO perspective to the whole team.

The Bad Product Owner: Multiple PO’s for one team, an impossible prioritization challenge

When a PO wants to control everything the team does, the collaboration with the team is hampered. Not only does the PO not get the team’s support (the PO might not even want it), but there’s a lot of other anti-patterns that develop. In this episode, we also talk about the Technical Product Owner as a “wrinkle in the process towards Agile”. In this segment, we focus on techniques to help stakeholders get to an agreement on priorities. 

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 Steve Silbert

Steve is an Agile Coach living in Jacksonville, Florida. He is co-curator of SketchnoteArmy, sits on the board of directors for a spiritual innovation incubator, and designs agile games in his spare time.

You can link with Steve Silbert on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Silbert on Twitter.

Jesse Houwing: Working with multiple Product Owners and other Scrum Master challenges

The collaboration with the Product Owner is a key aspect of the Scrum Master work, but there’s also the collaboration between Product Owners that work on the same product. We discuss these different aspects of collaboration and how they affect the PO role.

The Great Product Owner: Open to coaching, and much more

A great PO is open to and seeks support and coaching from the Scrum Master. In this episode, we talk about one such PO, that was open to learning and being coached. But there was a lot more to this PO. Listen in to learn what were the key characteristics of this great Product Owner.

The Bad Product Owner: What destroys collaboration between PO’s

When a PO is not able to make decisions, we know we are in trouble. In this episode, we talk about a specific problem: when multiple PO’s need to work together, but don’t have the tools and experience to work well together. Listen in to learn about what can destroy the collaboration between Product Owners.

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 Jesse Houwing

Father of 2, husband of 1, Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org, Steward of the Scaled Scrum curriculum there, gadgeteer and techy at heart. Lives in the middle of The Netherlands.

You can link with Jesse Houwing on LinkedIn and connect with Jesse Houwing on Twitter.

Ludmila Reyter: The key difference between communicating, and telling others what to do

Two contrasting examples of a PO that was in a split role of PO and Team Manager. Their different approaches had a completely different impact on the team, and the collaboration between team and PO.

The Great Product Owner: Communicating with stakeholders and team

This PO was the direct manager for the team, but that was not a problem. Additionally, this PO was able to keep everyone informed of the progress, as well as feeling involved in the decision making. This was a PO that understood that the PO role is all about communicating with stakeholders and team.

The Bad Product Owner: The all knowing, all telling PO

This PO was the direct manager for the team, and that was a challenge. The PO had a split role, which took up time, and made it hard to focus on the PO responsibilities. As the PO was pressured for time, the natural solution was to tell the team exactly what to do. This lead to a lack of collaboration and engagement between managers and team. In this segment, we also talk about the importance for Scrum Masters to create a working partnership with the 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 Ludmila Reyter

Ludmila started as a project manager and became a scrum master early on, and has been working with teams in the software development sector for 7 years now – but with other teams in general (basketball, studies) much longer. 

She loves to see people working together successfully, which of course means going through some tough times, too. Ludmila realized that the things she once learned somehow rearrange, and has a thought for us: never be sure that what you think you know will always be true!

You can link with Ludmila Reyter on LinkedIn and connect with Ludmila Reyter on Twitter.

Mahesh Jade: Going beyond Scrum ceremonies to solve a team-PO conflict

Allowing and even promoting the team’s questions are signs of a PO that is ready to collaborate with the team. However, when the collaboration does not work, we as Scrum Masters must try to go beyond Scrum, and address the collaboration issues. 

The Great Product Owner: Promoting and answering Scrum team’s questions as a PO

A great PO is ready to discuss ideas with the team, collect their input and foster an environment where the team feels they can ask questions without being put down, or ignored. In this segment, we also talk about the importance of creating a productive partnership between the Scrum Master and the PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Going beyond Scrum ceremonies to solve a team-PO conflict

When the PO comes in only to complain about the team not delivering a story at the end of the Sprint, instead of working with the team to prevent that from happening in the future, a gap emerges between PO and team. Mahesh helped the PO and team come together by looking beyond Scrum and the ceremonies that it defines. 

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 Mahesh Jade

Mahesh is an Agile evangelist dedicated to championing the cause of building winning teams and winning products. A facilitator by passion, a coach, and an agilist at heart, he works to bring agility to the organization and humanizing the workplace. 

You can link with Mahesh Jade on LinkedIn and connect with Mahesh Jade on Twitter.

Leigh Griffin: The part-time PO that starved the Scrum team, and other anti-patterns

From the “starving the team” anti-pattern to the PO that was able to talk to, and be understood by both the technology and the business teams. 

The Great Product Owner: The PO that spoke the business and technology language

This PO was a very experienced PO, who had worked as an analyst before and had a technology background. This gave the PO the ability to speak both business and technology language as serve as a bridge between the two sides. On top of that, this PO was able to keep the team informed, and help them think from a customer perspective.

The Bad Product Owner: The part-time PO that starved the team

This was a part-time PO that ended up letting the team starve by not feeding them enough content for their work. This kind of PO can stop the Agile transformation and affect the overall adoption in the organization. 

We also talk about other anti-patterns in the PO role that Scrum Masters should keep an eye 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 Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Ben Maynard: The relationships of a Scrum Product Owner

Being a PO is not only about the backlog items, it is mostly about collecting feedback and involving the right people in the product development. We talk about the 5 relationships of a Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: The 5 relationships of a Product Owner

Ben starts by sharing “the 5 relationships of a Product Owner”, and how great PO’s focus on building those relationships, not only on the backlog items they need to create. In this segment, we talk about a PO that spent their time learning the practices that were required to be able to work with those “5 relationships”, and help the team develop a simple initial impact map that would help them throughout the project.

In this segment, we refer to the LeSS framework for scaling Agile and Scrum.

The Bad Product Owner: 4 critical PO anti-patterns

Ben discusses a particular anti-pattern for the Product Owner: the PO that created the backlog alone in their room, without talking to the team. We discuss how this anti-pattern leads to the team feeling they are “out of the loop”, and be disconnected from the real customer needs. In this episode, we also refer to the following anti-patterns:

  • The PO as a requirements manager; 
  • The PO going in between teams, not allowing them to talk to each other;
  • The PO as the Analyst, instead of 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 Ben Maynard

Ben is an experienced coach, trainer, and mentor assisting senior leaders in medium to large organizations with organizational design and the cultural repercussions. 

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

Jacy Ong: Challenge the team, and accept the team’s challenges to be a better Scrum Product Owner

How the team acts when the PO is present is a great hint about the PO’s ability to work in Scrum. We talk about two different stances, one that makes the team feel safe, and the other that uses fear instead.

The Great Product Owner: Challenge the team, and accept the team’s challenges to be a better PO

This Product Owner was the classic persona of a great PO, they understood the product, why it existed, and what value it brought to the customers. Furthermore, this PO was available to the team, and responsive to their needs and requests. Perhaps even more important, this PO knew how to give feedback, but help the team feel safe in those moments. In the end the dynamic created between team and PO, helped both challenge each other to be even better. 

The Bad Product Owner: The absent and fearful PO

When the PO is absent, things are never easy. When, on top of that, the PO scares the team into submission, the conditions are set for a disaster. In this segment, we talk about how to work with PO’s so that they understand their contribution to the team, and help the teams engage productively with the PO. 

In this segment, we refer to a tool that helps Scrum Masters and PO’s talk about being available and cooperating within the schedule restrictions that invariably hit PO’s: The Prodcut Owner Sprint Checklist.

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 Jacy Ong

Jacy is a big anime fan! And she has found a strong connection between sports anime and her work as a scrum master. As she puts it: “nothing feels more rewarding than to watch your teams grow and achieve goals they never thought they could possibly achieve. :)”

You can link with Jacy Ong on LinkedIn

Chris Stone: Helping Scrum Product Owners even when the context is difficult

The personality traits that help PO’s succeed and the need for context in the PO role are the topics of this episode.

The Great Product Owner: Humor and Vision drive motivation in the Scrum team

Chris shares the story of a Product Owner that was a native storyteller. He contrasts that with the anti-pattern he calls “JIRA ticket machine”. This Product Owner was able to bring Vision and humor to the interactions with the team. But most importantly was able to easily and clearly convey the “why” for the work the team was doing.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s even when the context is difficult

When the Product Owner is absent, we face many problems as a Scrum team. Questions that aren’t answered, details that are missed, but most importantly, we lose the quick feedback cycle that the Product Owner role is supposed to provide. In this segment, we talk about the reasons why some PO’s are absent, and how we – as Scrum Masters – can help the PO’s by understanding their context, and their needs.

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 Chris Stone

Chris is The Virtual Agile coach, a #PeopleFirst champion, and an Agile Evangelist / Agile Transformation Lead / Scrum Master possessing over 8 years of experience within the IT industry.

You can link with Chris Stone on LinkedIn.