Bram De Block: Working with great Technical Product Owners, and how they use their technical expertise to help the team

The Great Product Owner: Working with great Technical Product Owners, and how they use their technical expertise to help the team

Great Product Owners can have a technical background, and use it to the team’s and their own advantage. Bram notes that the PO’s understanding of the impact of technical debt makes it easier for them to understand the team’s struggles. Leading to productive conversations, and the team being given time to handle technical debt issues.

Bram advises that a great Product Owner should be present and available to the team, sitting down with them during lunch breaks to discuss issues and concerns. He suggests helping the PO develop their own system to keep the product backlog manageable and addresses common counter arguments he gets from PO’s when asking them to limit the size of their backlog. Bram also provides tips on how to have a conversation about the consequences of adding too many things to the backlog and how to help the PO say “no” to stakeholders.

The Bad Product Owner: Working with technical PO’s to address dictatorial behavior and improve team motivation

Sometimes, Product Owners who have a technical background tend to dictate solutions to the team without considering other options. Bram notes that these PO’s are often not open to different or better solutions and even question the team’s progress. He suggests addressing this issue by making it transparent, showing the impact it has on the team, and discussing how team members feel about the collaboration with the PO.
Bram also highlights the impact this behavior has on team motivation and provides tips on how to handle this situation, such as using real situations to help the product owner reflect and encouraging open discussion of team feelings in the retrospective.

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 Bram De Block

Bram is not an official trainer, consultant nor freelancer. He is just himself, supporting colleagues in applying and growing their own potential and getting stuff done. Bram started as a software developer for 10 years, then grew into a half-time agile coach, and finally, full-time “Global Agile Lead” at Skyline Communications. Something “special” he learned (even if he wishes it wasn’t special): the meaning and impact of “respect”.

You can link with Bram De Block on LinkedIn, or meet Bram face-to-face at this meetup he hosts in Belgium.

Omar Perez: Acing the Product Owner role even without Agile or Scrum background!

The Great Product Owner: Technical background is not necessary to be a great Product Owner!

This PO had never been exposed to Agile, however this person wanted the product to be successful, and understood that software development was a team’s sport! This PO, even without software development background was able to be open-minded enough to learn what was necessary, to collaborate with the team, and was open to getting help from the Scrum Master!

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s that didn’t want to be PO’s in the first place

Sometimes, we work with PO’s that did not want to be given that responsibility. When the PO is forced to take that role and work with the team, the conditions are rife for problems. There might be many reasons for this, including that PO is the next “logical” step for a technical person’s career. In this segment, we talk about how Scrum Masters can help do “damage control” and help the team and the PO work together.

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 Omar Perez

Omar is an Agile Coach from Barcelona who currently supports distributed teams that build data products to enable their company to be genuinely data-driven. He has had many previous lives as a design thinker, market analyst, communication consultant, project manager and startup founder. He aspires to become a “peopleware” expert.

You can link with Omar Perez on LinkedIn.

Allison Zimmerman: Does Technical Background affect the Scrum Product Owner performance? Yes and no… Here are two examples

The Great Product Owner: Coaching a PO into a great PO!

It is possible to help Product Owners improve their game, and as Scrum Masters, we should be ready to coach those PO’s that want to get better. In this segment, we share the story of a PO that was able to recover from some key anti-patterns and become a great PO!

The Bad Product Owner: Does Technical Background affect the PO performance? Yes and no… Here are two examples

In this segment, we talk about two different types of Product Owners. One had a strong technical background, and the other one didn’t. We discuss how these different types of background can negatively impact the performance of the PO. We also discuss the role of the Scrum Master in fostering and maintaining a good communication practice between PO and team!

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 Allison Zimmerman

Allison believes that all people have the power to succeed when they work together. As a teacher-turned-scrum master, she has spent the last five years helping enterprise teams build on their strengths to deliver customer value. She also serves as a Scrum Master Community of Practice leader, supporting growth and development of scrum masters across many teams.

You can link with Allison Zimmerman on LinkedIn.

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