Jean Coetzee: Breaking Free from the Proxy Trap And Reclaiming the Essence of the Product Owner Role

The Great Product Owner: Breaking Free from the Proxy Trap And Reclaiming the Essence of the Product Owner Role

In this episode, Jean addresses some anti-patterns in the role of a Product Owner, with the most detrimental being when they become mere proxies for business owners or sponsors. He laments the recent disregard for the essence of the PO role, emphasizing that it should not serve as a mere intermediary. When POs are placed in proxy positions, they are set up for failure, relegated to the role of translators rather than empowered owners. Jean advocates for a reevaluation of the PO role to ensure they have the autonomy and authority necessary for success.

The Bad Product Owner: Empowering Teams, Lessons from an Exceptional Product Owner

In this episode, Jean shares a compelling story of a Product Owner who excelled without formal training in Agile or Product Ownership. This PO approached the role with a fresh perspective, free from preconceived notions. They embodied true ownership of the product, prioritizing vision-setting and supporting the team’s end goal. The distinction between ownership and management was evident, as the PO focused on protecting the team from interference while also holding them accountable. Importantly, this Product Owner struck a balance by empowering the team to take ownership of their purpose, ultimately leading to a highly successful and self-sufficient team.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a 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 Jean Coetzee

Jean is passionate about humans, and how they work together from a psychology and neuroscience perspective.

Jean, credits the early ScrumMaster podcasts for shaping his Agile career. These insightful episodes provided vital guidance during the early days, boosting confidence in serving others effectively. Jean learned to navigate uncertainties and gain confidence in their Scrum Master role, all thanks to this and other podcast contributors.

You can link with Jean Coetzee on LinkedIn.

Johannes Lindman: Owning the Business, and being ambitious, key skills for great Product Owners

The Great Product Owner: The Power of Ambition in a Great Product Owner

According to Johannes, a great Product Owner is someone who is ambitious on the business side, knows what they want, and is able to make decisions, and are given the mandate to do so. They show up to team stand-ups, have skills in the business, and are goal-oriented. We also discuss why it is so important for the team to have a great Product Owner as it’s a set of skills they rarely can master themselves. Johannes also shares a story about a Product Owner who was annoyed that she didn’t get what she wanted, but was able to be assertive and communicate her priorities effectively.

The Bad Product Owner: Overcoming The Proxy PO Anti-Pattern

In this segment, Johannes the PO anti-pattern that occurs when someone is put in the wrong position. The problem is not the person, but rather the fact that they might not understand critical aspects of the job. One such anti-pattern is having a proxy PO. To resolve this, Johannes advises supporting the product owner and giving them the basics. Scrum Masters should work to find the actual business owners and bring them into contact with the team and the proxy PO. It’s important to be careful and aware of expectations and not to step on people’s toes.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a 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 Johannes Lindman

Despite many years of experience Johannes still learns new things every day in order to stay relevant. This aligns with his curiosity on life and people.

You can link with Johannes Lindman on LinkedIn.

Caterina Palmiotto: The Phantom Product Owner, How Lack of Decision-Making Impacts the Team and Kills Innovation

The Great Product Owner: The Collaboration Between PO and Team as Key to PO Success

In this segment, Caterina shares a story of a great Product Owner who worked closely with their team. The PO took the time to share the high-level vision and timeline for a new module, collected doubts and comments from the team, and presented user stories with enough information to start a discussion. The PO listened to all suggestions and was available every day to collaborate. The refinement process was done in two parts, with the second part focused on investigating technical aspects. The PO even participated in retrospectives and worked with the team to improve the product based on either technical or functional ideas by the team. Caterina emphasizes the importance of building this kind of productive collaboration between POs and their teams, with the help of Scrum Masters.

The Bad Product Owner: The Phantom PO, How Lack of Decision-Making Impacts the Team and Kills Innovation

In this segment, Caterina talks about a Product Owner who only wrote user stories but was unable to make decisions. The Product Owner always needed to report to his boss, which caused a delay in decision-making. This led to delays in the team’s work, resulting in not completing the story in the sprint. Additionally, the team lost trust in the PO, and did not have enough information or support from the PO to bring their contribution to the product through technical innovation. Eventually, the team started to make decisions on their own and stopped suggesting ideas to the PO. Caterina emphasizes the importance of Product Owners being able to make decisions and not causing delays in the team’s 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 Caterina Palmiotto

Caterina started as a software developer but soon realized that she was passionate about team dynamics and communication, and embraced agility from the moment she saw it.

Caterina believes a team can be more than the sum of its parts and that growing the right culture is essential. When people are surrounded by good examples they will be motivated to do their best.  So the first step is doing your best to be a good example of the culture you want to nurture.

You can link with Caterina Palmiotto on LinkedIn.

Jill Stott: The Product Ownership perfect storm, and how to solve it with the help of the Scrum team

The Great Product Owner: Willing to learn, and ready to experiment, the secret to great newbie PO’s!

This PO had never heard about Scrum before they started their work as PO for a Scrum team. They were also new to Agile in general. However, the PO decided and took action on learning quickly what was expected, and sought out a strong collaboration with the team, participating in their retros, and by being willing to try new things that might have seemed confusing or even scary at first.

The Bad Product Owner: Unable to make decisions, and with low confidence, the PO perfect storm! And how to solve it!

This Product Owner was not empowered by their stakeholders, and therefore not confident. To add to the problems, the PO was also not available, and took a long time to be able to make decisions. This led to the team sometimes having very undefined and unclear requirements. When the team asked questions, the PO was often not able to answer their questions, nor did they take those questions forward to someone who could answer them. The scene was set for a disaster, but thankfully something happened that changed the dynamics. Listen in to learn how Jill and the teams were able to change things, and ultimately got to a point where they got what they needed from the PO.

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 Jill Stott

Jill Stott is here to make friends! She’s worked in IT for too many years to count. She is passionate about assisting ScrumMasters to be successful and happy in their roles. Jill knows that there is no such thing as a perfect chocolate chip cookie and she isn’t afraid to use puppets.

You can link with Jill Stott on LinkedIn.

Salvatore Rinaldo: Helping an absent Product Owner, learn and improve on their role

The Great Product Owner: The Chief Clarity Officer, providing clarity and decisions when needed

Great PO’s are able to influence, without being seen as “the boss”, and they take their work very seriously, even if they don’t take themselves too seriously. As Salvatore says: great PO’s become the Chief Clarity Officers, being present, answering questions, and clarifying what is necessary for the team to function. In this segment, we talk about the “kill criteria”, a concept you can use to help PO’s decide what to remove from the product, a skill that great Product Owners also exhibit.

The Bad Product Owner: How to facilitate a conversation with an absent PO, so they understand the impact they have on the team

This PO was unavailable to the team, and that caused a number of problems for the team. In this segment, we talk about the anti-patterns that show up in the team, when the PO is too busy to be present with the team. Salvatore suggests a few things to try, to help the PO understand their impact on the team, and we refer to the Sprint Checklist, a hands-on guide that we produced to help you facilitate that conversation with the PO.

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 Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn.

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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
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Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.