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5 Things to Avoid to Become a Great Product Owner

5 Things to Avoid to Become a Great Product Owner

Facing a high amount of pressure as a Product Owner and slipping up every now and then is fairly normal. Product Owners have to ensure that the development team is on the right track, that customer requirements are being met by your product, and that it adheres to the proposed time frame. If you are wondering how to go about this, you could look into resources like this CSPO course.

While mistakes can be the best lessons, there’s no rule that says you have to make them yourself. You could always learn from the mistakes of others, and have a great record for yourself.

Let us take a look at five of the most common mistakes product owners make, and how to avoid them.

Discrepancy with the Product Vision

With no vision, there is the risk of a lack of proper direction. This just creates a mess, with no priorities and no order whatsoever. In order to establish a great vision, the Product Owner has to be sure to understand the problem, the requirement, and the solution. In addition, the PO also has to ensure proper convergence of team energy by effectively sharing the vision with the entire team.

If the team understands the technical or business aspect, but not the bigger picture, you are never going end up with a great product. Empowering your team explicitly with the vision makes each member of the team committed and dedicated to a common goal, and allows them to take responsibility for their piece in the process.

Scrum talks about having Sprint Goals, which make sure that the actions that directly correlate to the vision get done first. The key to addressing this issue would be proper communication with the customer, as well as the development team, and ensuring that their visions align with each other.

Lack of Sufficient Knowledge

Although POs try their best to do a good job, they sometimes overlook crucial details, often about the product itself. Knowing the ins and outs of the end product and all its features, as well as the problem it solves, is very important for a PO. In fact, a PO must be in a position to guide the development team to reach the right end product.

It is vital that POs familiarize themselves with the product completely. In addition, not knowing the right business models might also be worrisome. The PO must also have an aptitude for selecting the right business model for the right product and industry.

Not Being Part of the Team

If the team does not see you as one of them, it will be near to impossible for you to get them to align with your vision and work towards a common goal. In order to be a part of the team, you have to walk a fine line. POs must avoid being too controlling and imposing. New POs often involve themselves with the team’s duties so much, they end up micromanaging.

This could end up disrupting the entire Scrum process, and cause more harm than good. Avoid being too serious, but guide and help your team when the time calls for it. Consider yourself as one of the team members, and always acknowledge their efforts. Do not simply be a backlog manager waiting till the end of the sprint for final results. Be a part of the process, and add your experience and efforts to the end product.

Backlog Management Troubles

Ensure that your team is always a part of backlog management and makes use of their experience. This can help you avoid having to change the roadmap later in the development process, by adding technical hypothesis and risks at the beginning of the process.

Lack of an Agile Mindset

Not being able to have a flexible vision is an issue that haunts many POs. A PO should be able to analyze changes in market signals, user demands, and team suggestions, take the best of them all, and be willing to adapt to make a product. Involving the stakeholders can go a long way in adopting a truly agile mindset, one that is receptive to outside conditions, and willing to make changes for the better.

Be Successful as a Product Owner

Avoiding these common errors will help you go a long way as a PO. Having a clear vision, and a clue of what to expect is very important. While the learning process can be simplified with the help of a CSPO training, determining what to avoid can go a long way in delivering the perfect product, satisfying customers, and getting the best out of your team.


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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.