Stance 4: The Collaborator

As a Product Owner, I find myself constantly wearing multiple hats – one of them being the collaborator. But what exactly does it mean to be a collaborator in the world of product development? Well, for me, it boils down to three key areas: governance, budgeting, and contracting. 

🚀 Governance: 

In the ever-evolving landscape of regulations and compliance, staying on the right side of the law is paramount. Today, we have to grapple with external laws like GDPR and other industry-specific regulations. Engaging with legal experts is crucial. They help me decipher what’s needed and translate that into a language that developers can understand. It’s about ensuring that every Sprint we take aligns with these regulations, so we don’t face compliance issues down the line. 

🚀 Budgeting: 

Budgeting has traditionally been a rigid process, where we plan everything in advance – what we’ll do, how long it’ll take, and how much it’ll cost. While that might sound sensible, it often hinders agility. Instead of delivering value to users, we get bogged down in project management, focusing on timelines and scope. As a Product Owner, I am therefore keen to rethink our approach to budgeting. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a balance between budget control and delivering the right value. This way, we can remain Agile and customer-focused without sacrificing financial responsibility. 


Contracts are the glue that binds external vendors to our projects. However, I’ve encountered my fair share of challenges when it comes to contract negotiation. Legal jargon for instance can stall projects, sometimes for months. So, how do we resolve this? I’ve learned that fostering collaboration with vendors is key. Instead of rigidly dictating terms, it’s about involving vendors in the negotiation process. It’s more about individuals and interactions, ensuring that contracts serve both parties’ interests, rather than just being a set of rigid rules. 

Bridging the Gap 

So, in essence, being the collaborator means bridging the gap between different aspects of the product development process. It’s about understanding the legal intricacies and translating them for developers, reimagining budgeting to maintain agility, and embracing a collaborative approach to contracting. This role is not just about ticking boxes; it’s about ensuring that our products are not only compliant but also valuable to our users. 

As you can see, the collaborator role is an essential part of the Product Owner’s toolkit. It’s about bringing together various Stakeholders to ensure that our products meet legal requirements, stay within budget, and foster productive relationships with external vendors. By embracing these responsibilities, we aim not only to deliver great products but also to navigate the complex world of product development more effectively. 


About Effective Agile

Ralph Jocham is a Change Agent in Scrum // Agile // Coaching // Evidence Based Management and also a Professional Scrum Trainer based in Europe.

As one of the first Professional Scrum Trainers in the world, Ralph has worked directly with cocreator of #scrum, Ken Schwaber, and has played an integral part in the course development of the #PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner) as well as the delivery of all certified courses.

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