Advice for New Product Owners

From the Scrum Alliance's Internal PO's.



It’s human nature to be intimidated by a new challenge, but reaching beyond your personal comfort zone can be hugely rewarding.


The Product Owners (PO) working within the Scrum Alliance have decades of experience and here they share their guidance with those who have less time on the front line.



Handle your backlog


Top of the list for effective Product Ownership is to prioritise your backlog.


The backlog is not a place to capture all thoughts and ideas about a product. Resist becoming too attached to certain items, rather, treat them all as hypothesis statements. By releasing and testing each hypothesis you will receive feedback quickly so you keep improving.


Remember, you don’t need to deliver perfection, just the next increment of value.



Keep the big picture in mind


The role of PO is one of the most difficult and crucial elements in Scrum. It’s not about keeping people happy as to deliver the highest value you must at times say no to Stakeholders.


And to keep the big picture in mind you must understand the “Why”?, and effectively share that product vision with the Team.



Know the difference between “nice to have” and “need to have”


Always keep the customer in mind and ask the relevant questions :-


  • ‘What is our customer struggling with’?

  • ‘How will this make our customer’s job easier’?

  • ‘Will it help them become more effective’?


Knowing the customer problem you are trying to solve is what drives success.


But how do you discover the problem?


To understand the context, you need to have conversations. Talk to your users, Stakeholders, Team members or anyone who understands your Product’s needs and requirements.


Being a Product Owner doesn’t mean knowing everything. But be confident in expressing what you DO know and ask questions to actively learn what you DON’T know. Communication is key.



Value your relationships


Maintaining and building relationships with your Team and Stakeholders is one of the most important parts of the PO role; this is enabled by keeping mutual trust and respect at all times.


Being transparent, honest and listening, will allow you to not only earn trust but also learn what you need to know to succeed.


As a PO your calendar should be filled by stakeholder management and customer contact meetings. If you do not regularly engage with your customers and stakeholders, you risk building the wrong product.



Know that you Matter


As a Product Owner, you encompass many roles in one. It can be daunting, it definitely is not easy, but being confident, communicative and willing to learn will open the doors to success.




DISCLAIMER: This content has been extracted from the ScrumAlliance resources, to read more please visit the link below:


Advice for New Product Owners



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