What don’t new product owners know but really should?

In my training, I often have people who are stepping into the role of Product Owner into the role. Most are keen to get to grips with the tangible tasks, like creating product backlogs or writing user stories. No doubt, these are important elements. But they represent only a small fraction of the role. There’s so much more to the job.

The art of stakeholder management

Perhaps the most vital aspect is stakeholder management. It’s not just about listing out requirements or drafting documents; it’s about communication and understanding.

Engage and connect:

Talk to your users. Understand their needs, their pain points, and their aspirations.

Immerse yourself in their mindset. What challenges them? What delights them?

Bridge the gap with developers:

Communicate what you’ve learned to the developers.

Consider introducing the developers directly to the users. This direct communication can sometimes bridge gaps that no amount of documentation can.

As a product owner, you should ideally be the living representation of everything that’s needed in a value stream. It’s about taking the original idea from its inception and ensuring that the end-user finds a solution to their problem.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Often, product owners can get caught in the intricacies of day-to-day tasks. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.

Strategise and visualise:

  • Understand the broader implications of the work you’re doing.
  • Grasp the big picture, but be ready to break it down so that developers can act on it.

Validate and review:

  • Once a task is done, don’t just move on. Bring it back for review.
  • Engage in regular sprint reviews to ensure that the development is aligned with the user’s needs.

New product owners might sometimes feel that their primary role is to sit down and type product backlog items into a tool. However, it’s essential to realise that the job involves so much more.

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 #scrum.org certified courses.

If you’re looking to invest in training that transforms and empowers teams to successfully adopt #scrum or #agile, and create high-performance #productdevelopment environments leveraging the agile values and principles, visit https://effectiveagile.com/agile-scrum-trainings/

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