By Mia Kolmodin: As many of you might know, the product owner role is perhaps the most difficult role in the Agile setup. It sometimes feels like it takes super powers to manage. Here I have tried to capture some of the important mindsets, processes and tools that I find valuable for coaching and training Product Owners and Agile Teams and leaders.
As a product Owner you need an understanding of what value the business wants to accomplish (not necessary how the business works), strategic and tactical skills in the craft of product development (mostly done by slicing), ability to work together with the team in the discovery process and with the stakeholders to understand their needs and goals and great communication skills to manage expectations.
UPDATE MAY 22nd: Now you can download this poster in Italian as well >
UPDATE JUNE 4th: Now you can download this poster in Spanish as well >
As Agile practices proves to work better than other practices and spreads, it starts to involve the organization outside of IT or the development department. When companies start moving towards a more Agile organization across the silos, they might realize they are missing actual product owners and a product owner organization with representation from the business, and they bring in people from the business side to the PO role. What might strike many new product owners is how different the Agile way of working is (usually they love it), and how different the PO role is from their earlier experiences, maybe as a mid level manager. The product ownership is about NOT managing the details, NOR the people. It´s NOT EVEN about knowing what the solution should be. It might off course seem a bit frightening and confusing to some people, depending of the company culture off course, to focus on vision and learning along the way what is the right thing to do.
The Agile Product Ownership (not role) is about trusting in the capabilities of the team, and the process of learning as a team, prototyping and testing to find what is valuable and deliver piece by piece. The every day of Agile business and working as a Product Owner is about delivering value. And it is so rewarding when you know that you can do that, even though you in the early stages had no idea what the solution would feel like or look like, and that was probably the only thing you could agree about 🙂 Being able to trust that process and using proper methods to learn and deliver valuable solutions piece by piece, and doing it over and over again. That is what good product ownership is about – and it´s teamwork, not a one mans job.
As you already understand I don´t see the product ownership as A role, I see it as a process. I know a share that with my colleague Tomer Shalit (maybe you as well), who co created this poster with me as a result of many discussions, trainings and workshops.
The product ownership process goes all the way from being a Agile leader with a catalyst leadership, creating a vision, clear and measurable goals, to learning what problems needed to be solved to reach the goals, for who and in what context. To planning and breaking it down to smaller releases that can be supported by the technical infrastructure and then following up if you reached the goals or not. In contrary from what many might say, I don´t think the the Product Owner has nothing to do with the actual solution. The solution is up to the team to create. To manage this, obviously, the team need have a clear picture of what problem they are solving, and for who… otherwise the team can´t learn what is a good solution or not, or even what´s a good enough solution, and they definitely can´t innovate. If this works, the PO and the team can manage in uncertainty and deliver early business value and do continuous discovery and delivery. Giving them the super powers to always being able to deliver on time and creating valuable solutions that over time that can be scaled and cater for all type of business and user needs. As I see it, this is the ultimate goal for Agile teams, and the Product Owner is the enabler for that.
As a product owner and digital business developer coach and trainer for many years, I have collected some if the tools and practices that I find valuable in this poster. This is the second poster in the series of free Agile “in a Nutshell” posters. The first poster “Agile in a Nutshell with a spice of Lean UX” you find here, translated to several languages >
I hope you find this poster valuable. Feel free to use it in digital format in your company or in your training or coaching, just always refer to Dandy People and me and Tomer. The poster is also available in hi-resolution as a PDF for printing i large formats. I like to print them as A1 posters and put them up on the wall, they are great conversation pieces 🙂
Thank you Mia Kolmodin for writing a guest blog post!-Please find the original blog post at dandy-people.com