Susannah Chambers: Involving the team, an asset for great Scrum Product Owners

The way the PO involves the team in their work and decisions can make or break the collaboration between team and PO. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting approaches, and why the effective involvement of the team in the work of the PO is so important.

The Great Product Owner: User Experience focused PO

This particular Product Owner was very much focused on user experience, and that helped the team also focus on that aspect of their work. During meetings with the team, the PO constantly brought up the value they were trying to “drive” for the customer. 

In this segment, we refer to an approach Susannah calls “Metrics and Chill”. Listen in to learn what that is about.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that would have conversations without the team

Product Owners can help, or hinder the teams’ work. In this segment, we talk about a PO that would turn all blame on the team, and would have conversations with stakeholders without the team knowing about it, or being informed. This inevitably led to bad surprises that the team wasn’t ready for, and then was blamed for. Listen to these anti-patterns to learn to detect them before it is too late!

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 Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Serge Huybrechts: Value-centered Product Ownership for Scrum teams

From value-centered product ownership to interruption-based product ownership, two contrasting patterns we must be aware of.

The Great Product Owner: Value-centered, and able to communicate that to the Scrum team

A great PO has the mindset that they are there to understand and serve the customer with the help of the team. The great PO knows the environment (both inside the company and the customer’s environment); knows the customer very well, and most importantly understands how to bring that information to the team. Finally, the great PO has conversations centered around the idea of “value” for the customer and the company.

The Bad Product Owner: Interrupting the team and causing them to fail

This particular PO kept bringing new things to the sprint late in the process: “This has to go in as well” was the key phrase. This PO was heavily influenced by influential salespeople in the organization. All of this led the team to never finish the work they started. 

In this segment, we refer to the episodes with John Albrecht, who’s been a guest here on the podcast.

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 Serge Huybrechts

Serge is a Scrum Master, Agile coach, and trainer with a long background in IT Service Management. He considers himself a guide for continuous improvement where Agile, Scrum, and Kanban are the vehicles. Serge loves Agile because of its focus on people and learning resonates with him. 

He also calls himself a bulimic reader and very passionate about music.

You can link with Serge Huybrechts on LinkedIn

Ines Garcia: The 3 characteristics great Product Owners have

There are characteristics we see over and over again in great product owners, we discuss those with Ines, and we cover User Story Mapping, a technique to help PO’s improve their game.

The Great Product Owner: 3 characteristics for great Product Owners

Ines describes for us 3 characteristics for great Product Owners which help the teams to understand the context and impact of their work, to feel motivated to contribute to the product, as well as to understand all the necessary details before committing to do the work.

The Bad Product Owner: The Busy, Bossy and Absent PO

In this segment, we talk about the PO  that was just a broken telephone for the team, and on top of that was bossy and too busy to answer questions. When you see these characteristics in the PO, what do you do? We discuss some approaches that might help, and discuss the Story Mapping technique (See here for a fully defined facilitation guide for the Story Mapping workshop).

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 Garcia

Ines is an Agile Coach, a Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP-SM), and a Salesforce MVP. She focuses on helping organizations every day to become more Agile whilst delivering Salesforce technology. She consults, speaks, and trains in these arenas always with the end in mind of enabling an evolution (not revolution).

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

Check out Ines’ books on Amazon.

Omar McNeil: Helping Product Owners develop their relationship with the Scrum team

The availability of the PO is a critical aspect of the dynamic between team and PO. Through our work, we can help the PO establish a powerful collaboration with the team.

The Great Product Owner: Developing the team’s relationship with the PO

A great PO is available for the team to ask questions, and through that presence helps create a positive and energizing relationship with the team. Thanks to this presence, the team and the PO had a constant and quick feedback cycle established that helped them create a working collaboration.

The Bad Product Owner: Working with an absent PO

The background of what is going on with the Product Owner outside the work with our team can give us critical clues as to why they might be absent from the team’s ceremonies. In this segment, we talk about a specific type of “absent” PO, the PO that was involved in multiple projects. 

If you want to know how to help scale up the Product Owner role, check the e-course that helps you Coach Your PO, which includes a module specifically to handle this anti-pattern: bit.ly/coachyourpo.

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 Omar McNeil

Omar is a Principal Agile Practitioner at Red Hat. Prior to Red Hat, Omar worked in the Federal Government space as an Agile Practitioner Consultant, Project Manager, and Scrum Master. He has a passion for helping teams create a collaborative and safe environment, participating in Agile Communities, and coaching. 

You can link with Omar McNeil on LinkedIn and connect with Omar McNeil on Twitter

Sarah Finn: Learning to say “no” to stakeholders, a critical PO lesson

Product Owners that learn to be available to the team, and need to learn to say “no” to stakeholders are the two aspects of product ownership we talk about in this PO episode. 

The Great Product Owner: Helping PO’s learn to work with the Scrum team

Great Product Owners are able to make time to talk with the teams, and to be available when they have questions, and topics to discuss. But we should not forget that part of our job as Scrum Masters is to make sure the PO fully understands their role in the team. 

In this segment, we refer to the results of the PO survey we ran a few years back, which lists the 7 most common Product Onwer anti-patterns

The Bad Product Owner: Learning to say “no” to stakeholders, a critical PO lesson

The toughest part of the PO job is to be able to say “no” so that the team (and the PO) can focus on the right things for the product and the customer. When a PO is unable to push back, and say “no” to stakeholders, many anti-patterns develop. The reason is simple: there are always many, many ideas of what could be done, but most will never add value to the product and customers. 

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 Sarah Finn

Sarah Finn is an Agile Coach, within an Agile Practice Team in Red Hat. Sarah currently works with an open-source community facing team called “The Community Platform Engineering Team”. Sarah also helps co-manage the Agile DevOps Community of Practice. Sarah believes by simply creating a safe environment for discussion & collaboration can open up so many opportunities to work together towards continuous improvement.

You can link with Sarah Finn on LinkedIn and connect with Sarah Finn on Twitter.

Ravi Jay: Leadership skills for Scrum Product Owners

Leadership is one of the key set of skills that we must help PO’s master. When working with PO’s we must pay attention to their ability to work with multiple different stakeholders.

The Great Product Owner: Leadership skills for Scrum PO’s

Leadership is one of the key skills that Product Owners need to develop. After all, their work depends on many people making the right decisions for the products they own. In this segment, we talk about some of those aspects of leadership that Product Owners must be good at.

The Bad Product Owner: Playing the PO role, a first-person story

When Ravi played the PO role, he experienced how hard it was to take his own advice. We discuss some of the most difficult aspects of the PO role, and some of the signs of problems to look out for as Scrum Masters.

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 Ravi Jay

Ravi started his career as a Mainframes developer in 2004 and was introduced to agility in 2007. He went from hating Scrum Masters to loving Kanban very quickly but became a believer in agile methods after learning by losing money implementing SAFe in his London-based startup in 2011. Over 16 years, Ravi has specialized in driving value out of complex software, hardware, firmware and organizational change programs using various large-scale agile and traditional methods across industries. He enjoys spending time coaching and building teams that create products, people love to use.

You can link with Ravi Jay on LinkedIn and connect with Ravi Jay on Twitter.

Helen Garcia: The PO that could listen and learn from the Scrum team

In this episode, we talk about one of the key skills for successful Product Owners: the ability to listen to, and learn from the team.

The Great Product Owner: The PO that could listen and learn from the team

The ability to listen to the team and take advantage of that is one of the key characteristics of great Product Owners. After all, the team are the experts on the “how to deliver” question. In this segment, we share some tips that can help Product Owners become great listeners. 

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that was not able to listen

The opposite PO is the PO that can’t listen. Maybe they have too much going on, or it is just not how they work. In these cases, Scrum Masters must learn how to help Product Owners learn to listen. We discuss tips and tools to help PO’s that are too impatient to 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 Helen Garcia

Helen’s been in projects for over 10 years, everything from construction to pharma to more recently gaming. Not only does she want to bring an Agile mindset to organizations that are ready for change but she also strongly believes that Agile can be just as effective at home. Bringing value sooner, safer and happier thanks to Jon Smart it’s a quote Helen take most places!

You can link with Helen Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Helen Garcia on Twitter

You can also visit Helen Garcia’s website to learn more about her work.

Chris Foley: Growing the Product Development community as a Scrum Product Owner 

The relationship between PO, team and stakeholders is critical. We talk about some of the anti-patterns, as well as what would a great community-building PO look like.

The Great Product Owner: Growing the Product Development community as a PO

Product Owners that can take advantage of the team’s ingenuity and creativity are more likely to succeed in their role! This PO would listen to the team’s ideas on what to demo, and act as the bridge between the team and the business stakeholders, effectively creating a “wider” product development team that included not only the team, but the PO and the stakeholders as well! 

The Bad Product Owner: The “over-engineer all the things” PO

When Product Owners try to “control” the team by dictating how they should be working on the stories, and ignoring their ideas they prevent the team from bringing in their creative input and augmenting the PO’s ideas. In this segment, we also talk about the “not enough detail” and the “over-engineer all the things” PO, who does not understand the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) mindset. 

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 Foley

Chris is a Principal Systems Design Engineer at Red Hat working in the area of Engineering Improvement. He has over 20 years of experience in software and has filled PO and ScrumMaster roles. The team, to Chris, is the essence of the whole process and the Scrum Masters role is to help optimize that. He uses his experience from the sporting world to draw parallels around how successful teams function.

You can link with Chris Foley on LinkedIn and connect with Chris Foley on Twitter.

Joe Auslander: Product Owner Techniques for great refinement meetings

When a PO is absent, the challenge is to engage with them and help them understand how to best work with the team with the available time. Learn also how you can help Product Owners benefit from great refinement meetings.

The Great Product Owner: Techniques for great refinement meetings

In this episode, we learn how something that may look like an anti-pattern can – with the right mindset and technique – become an asset for the team. We hear how the vague user stories this PO brought to the team were actually a method to engage the team, and have great refinement meetings!

The Bad Product Owner: Overcoming the absent PO anti-pattern

This Product Owner had a “day job” that required attention and time. That led to the team suffering from an absent PO. How do we solve such a problem for the team? Joe shares the story, and the techniques he used to engage with the PO and help both team and PO tackle the problem.

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 Joe Auslander

Joe is into game/experience design and enjoys working with teams to solve unique problems. In the past this has been in areas of ship repair, crew coordination, television production and software delivery. Joe enjoys learning and sharing what he has learned and he particularly loves seeing people succeed. 

You can link with Joe Auslander on LinkedIn and connect with Joe Auslander on Twitter

Jakub Jurkiewicz: How PO’s can help Scrum teams better understand the users  

From a user-centric PO, to the PO that could not make decisions. We talk about the Product Owner interaction with the team, and how certain approaches can destroy the team’s ability to deliver value.

The Great Product Owner: How PO’s can help teams better understand the users 

The team was so focused on developing the technology that they forgot to listen to the users’ needs. Luckily the PO was on top of the situation and was able to help the team understand where they were failing to consider the user needs. The PO was focused on serving the stakeholders and users, and through that was able to bring the team along. In this segment, we also talk about the importance of defining clear and concise Sprint Goals. 

The Bad Product Owner: How to engage and create alignment with stakeholders

Jakub wants to help PO’smake decisions and to engage the stakeholders. For that, he developed an approach based on a game where both PO and stakeholders participate, which helps build a common understanding of value, risks, and opportunities.

Listen in to learn about the game, and how it helps create stakeholder alignement.

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 Jakub Jurkiewicz

Jakub is a kaizen practice lead who participated in his first standup in 2005 and facilitated his first retrospective in 2007. Previously a software developer, team leader, Scrum Master and Agile consultant, Jakub is also, a podcaster and trainer at Agile Coaching Lab. Loves wine, bicycles and his wife (in the reverse order).

You can link with Jakub Jurkiewicz on LinkedIn and connect with Jakub Jurkiewicz on Twitter.