David Wallace: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

Great Product Owners know how to involve team members in the definition and decision-making processes. However, the contrast is a PO that thinks they were given the mission to be a Project Manager. Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager? Listen in to learn about the signs that the PO might have taken the Project Management role.

The Great Product Owner:  Building collaboration by involving team members across disciplines

Great Product Owners are amazing that getting people to buy in to the Vision for the product/project. But they also know how to help the team put in practice continuous discovery, involving both engineering and the design team. As the POs starts to involve team and stakeholders, they make their job both more effective, and easier! A win-win!

The Bad Product Owner: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

When Product Owners think they are Project Managers – maybe because they had that role in the past – they forget about the product vision and start focusing too much on topics that the team should focus on. They dictate dates, scope and force the teams to follow the plan without questioning it. When this happens, a lot is lost in the team. Is your Product Owner behaving like a Project Manager? 

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 David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand based cloud accounting software company. 

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

Richard Lizama: “Just enough” Planning, the secret super power of great Product Owners

When it comes to planning, there’s plenty of opinions about how much is “just enough”. In this episode, we discuss this question from two different perspectives: the PO that wanted “just enough” planning, and the PO that wanted to over-plan everything in minute detail! 

The Great Product Owner: “Just enough” Planning, the secret superpower of great PO’s

Great Product Owners realize that they are part of the team, and focus on helping the team continuously improve in respect to how they think about customers and their role as product developers. In this segment, we also talk about how much is “just enough planning”, and the importance of feedback when helping develop the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Too much planning and its nasty consequences

In this segment, we talk about the PO that wants to plan everything, and in detail! We also discuss how to know when we are doing too much planning, or too little! Learning to hit the sweet spot in terms of planning is a critical enabler for team agility, and the Scrum Master can help the PO with that goal!

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 Richard Lizama

Before becoming a Scrum Master, Richard spent time as a college counselor, then a small business owner, then a tech support rep. Once he found Scrum and Agile, he knew it was where he needed to be.

You can link with Richard Lizama on LinkedIn.

Mark Metze: Using Sprint Goals as a way to collaborate and communicate with Stakeholders

Sprint Goals are a tool for the PO to communicate with the team and Stakeholders. However, not all PO’s know how to use them, or even try. When PO’s aren’t able to communicate the value to the team and stakeholders, then bad things can happen as we learn in this week’s PO anti-pattern segment.

The Great Product Owner: Using Sprint Goals as a way to collaborate and communicate with Stakeholders

Sprint goals are a tool that helps teams focus and make decisions, however, those goals don’t create themselves. A great Product Owner is able to prepare those Sprint Goals in a way that speaks to the team. In This segment, we refer to a technique by a PO that brought several possible goals to the Sprint Review, and asked the stakeholders to help them choose the right goal for the Sprint. 

In this segment, we also refer to Martin Dalmijn’s work (Martin has been a guest here on the podcast).

The Bad Product Owner: Value delivery as the focus for Product Owners 

This segment starts with a sad story, that of a PO that was fired after 9 months of work with their team. The reason: they had no way to show the value of what the team had delivered in those 9 months. A critical responsibility for a Product Owner.

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 Mark Metze

Following the pattern of all good Computer Science majors, Mark began his career as a programmer and devoted the first 2 decades of his career to the craft of writing code. His next decade was spent in a managerial role for a software team. And then recently he pivoted once again to the role of Scrum Master. Mark has a heart for leading through service and has enthusiastically embraced the role of Scrum Master.

You can link with Mark Metze on LinkedIn

Med Marouane Ajraoui: From collaborator to bossy, the Product Owner attitude spectrum to look out for

The attitude that the PO exhibits will fundamentally affect their effectiveness in the role, and in this episode, we explore 2 contrasting attitudes in the PO role.

The Great Product Owner: The great Collaborator

A great Product Owner is able to collaborate with the teams and the stakeholders, through their listening skills and ability to communicate ideas and why they matter for the product and the customer. Another great asset for a Product Owner is to be able to understand and evaluate technical debt together with the team. Finally, we talk about how great teams have the PO inside, and as a key part of the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The bossy PO

In this segment, we talk about how PO’s sometimes take a “bossy” perspective and are not able to understand their role. They might think they are “the boss”, and can just give orders to the team. In this segment, we also discuss the concept of the “product team”, as opposed to having the product focus only in the PO role.

We refer to the book User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton.

Are you having trouble helping the teamwork 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 Med Marouane Ajraoui

Med Marouane Ajraoui enjoys practicing AIKIDO while helping individuals, teams, and organizations embrace the agile mindset. He is from Morocco but has lived in several countries, and he enjoys being a “citizen of the world”. He is the founder of Agile Africa, an NGO for disseminating Agile culture in Africa. He is also the CEO and founder of JediSquad, an international firm that supports developing Eco Agile businesses and meaningful digital products.

You can link with Med Marouane Ajraoui on LinkedIn

Artur Margonari: How to work with very busy, multiple hat wearing Product Owners

The Great Product Owner: The PO that facilitates conversations and short feedback loops

This PO had a positive attitude, knew the product very well and was able to create communication opportunities between the team and the stakeholders. The PO was able to create, within the team, the idea that the team was working for the stakeholders, not the PO. Finally, this PO was able to create the opportunity for very short feedback loops. 

The Bad Product Owner: The very busy, multi-hat PO problem

When PO’s wear many hats, that creates time and focus conflicts for the PO. It’s hard for such a PO to separate their day-to-day responsibilities from the answers that the team needs and prioritization becomes a problem. Inevitably, the PO with many hats is very busy and ends up pushing the team by telling them exactly “how” they should do their work. It’s up to us, Scrum Masters to help the organization solve this problem, and in some cases, the organization might not even recognize this as a problem! 

Here on the podcast, we’ve created a guide to help Scrum Masters work with very busy Product Owners with our PO Sprint Checklist how-to guide.

 

Are you having trouble helping the teamwork 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 Artur Margonari

Artur is a Brazilian living in Belgium since 2014. When not playing music, practicing martial arts, or traveling, he supports organizations in their agile and continuous improvement journey. He also just adopted a cat and a dog 🙂

You can link with Artur Margonari on LinkedIn and connect with Artur Margonari on Twitter.

Stephane Thanasack: The PO that wanted to control everything

Seniority is often seen as a leading indicator of competence and effectiveness. However, that’s not always the case. In this episode, we share some surprising insights about how seniority is not always a great indicator of who can play the PO role.

The Great Product Owner: The Junior PO that helped the team understand what was needed

Seniority is not always an indicator of who might be a great PO. In this segment, we talk about a junior PO that was great in the PO role. The PO was able to ask questions, wanted to understand, but not control and focused on making decisions when everyone, and everything was ready. Through this approach, the PO was able to ensure everybody understood what was being asked from the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that wanted to control everything

In this segment, we describe a Product Owner that knows the whole business. This PO has been a project manager, an architect and even tries to design the product! This PO wants to control everything, every step of the process, and therefore prevents the team from succeeding on its own.

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 Stephane Thanasack

Stephane works with Agile clients in France, where he lives. He’s also the co-founder of Nowshak, a consulting company helping organizations in their transformation journey. He’s a certified professional coach by the International Coaching Federation.

You can link with Stephane Thanasack on LinkedIn.

Ryan Brook: The Product Owner that helped, and asked for help!

Perhaps the most common anti-pattern in the PO role, is the “no real PO” anti-pattern. Either because of their absence, or because the organization downplays that role. In contrast, great PO’s show up everyday, and make sure they help the team, and ask for help from the team. 

The Great Product Owner: The PO that helped, and asked for help!

For Mandy, the PO that Ryan introduces, nothing was too much trouble. She was focused on helping the team succeed. When interacting with the team, she made sure the team had everything they needed to succeed. On the other hand, she was also very clear about what she wanted the team to help her achieve, and the problems they needed to help solve. In this episode, we discuss how the PO role is also a servant leader role. 

The Bad Product Owner: The “no real PO” anti-pattern

The Product Owner “accountability” is very powerful, but many organizations think they can live without. The PO role is perhaps one of the linchpin roles in Scrum, but yet ignored or downplayed by many. In this episode we discuss why that is, and some of the least productive stances that people take when playing that role. 

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 Ryan Brook

Ryan is a practicing Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in the UK. He is also the co-creator of Scrum Lake, a safe community of practice focused on story telling and deep exploration with Scrum Masters from around the World. He holds both the PSM III and PSPO III and is a candidate Professional Scrum Trainer for scrum.org.

You can link with Ryan Brook on LinkedIn. Or check Ryan’s website at optilearn.co.uk.

Carsten Lützen: Build your own PO, an exercise to help the team and PO collaborate!

We can’t always have the PO we want, however, sometimes we get exactly what we need! In this episode, we also introduce an exercise for the team and PO to come to an agreement on how to best collaborate! 

The Great Product Owner: A great newbie PO!

Great Product Owners can come from unexpected places. In this story, we hear about one team that thought they needed a super-experienced “heavy hitter” in their industry. Instead, they got a newbie PO that had little experience in their industry, however, that was just the right PO for that team, at that time. Listen in to learn why a newbie PO can be just the right thing for your team!

The Bad Product Owner: Build your own PO, a method to help the team and PO collaborate!

Carsten describes the “Bungie PO”, a PO that shows up briefly, but never when the team needs them. We explore some of the problems that arise from PO’s that constantly come and go, and what we can do to help the team work with the PO to establish a basis for collaboration. 

In this segment, we refer to the exercise Build Your Own Scrum Master

 

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 Carsten Lützen

Carsten is an Agile Coach at the LEGO Group. Before that a Scrum Master for different teams. He has a deep love of graphical facilitation and professional coaching. Besides his full-time job, he shares weekly tips on YouTube and LinkedIn on Agile, Facilitation, and Coaching.

You can link with Carsten Lützen on LinkedIn and connect with Carsten Lützen on Twitter

Nancy Beers: The anti-pattern of long product backlogs

From the Visionary PO to the PO that was down in the weeds of an overly long backlog, we discuss two contrasting examples of a sense of clarity and focus in the PO role. 

The Great Product Owner: Speaking both technical and stakeholder language

Great PO’s combine a great product Vision (and the ability to communicate it), with savvy stakeholder management and communication. Additionally, a great PO is able to work with the team to understand when it is time to “pay down” some technical debt, and makes the case towards the stakeholders. 

In this segment, we refer to the Scrum Master Toolbox’s Compelling Product Vision e-course (FREE when you sign-up), and the Tetris game

The Bad Product Owner: The anti-pattern of long backlogs

One of the main tools for PO’s is the Backlog (both Sprint and Product Backlogs). However, many PO’s aren’t able to use that tool effectively. In this segment, we talk about the PO that was not able to keep the backlog short, and explore how Scrum Masters can help PO’s manage the Backlog effectively, as if it was a garden. 

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 Nancy Beers

Nancy says she is here to change the world one game at a time. She plays with people to learn or unlearn things. This can either be hard skills or soft skills (aka. Human skills)

You can link with Nancy Beers on LinkedIn and connect with Nancy Beers on Twitter

Dahm Hongchai: Learning to ask questions with empathy

In this episode, we explore how the skill of asking questions is so critical for PO’s, and we learn from Dahm some exercises to show the importance of that skill. 

The Great Product Owner: The Deep Listening PO

Great Product Owners are good at listening to the team, and the stakeholders, but mostly to the customers and the market. In this segment, we talk about how PO’s can practice deep listening, and use that skill to improve their effectiveness in the role. 

The Bad Product Owner: Learning to ask questions with empathy

Bad Product Owners have many lacking features, but in this segment, we focus especially on the inability to ask questions from the team, and the customers. Dahm shares some of his signature workshops, and how he uses those controlled environments to help PO’s learn how to go deeper in the understanding of the team and the customer.

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 Dahm Hongchai

Dahm Hongchai is an Agile coach, a Scrum Master, and a business consultant with 5 years experience in high-tech and Startup industries in Silicon Valley, Thailand, and Australia. He was the first Thai to become a Scrum Trainer (ST) with Scrum Inc. Dahm also has 10+ years of experience with other approaches such as Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. And he is an Agile trainer and helps people to understand Agile via, for example Agile Cooking.

You can link with Dahm Hongchai on LinkedIn.