Untold Stories

Pondering the Pitfalls of Product Ownership

The Product Owner role is a challenging one to understand. I often hear people describe this position as the Scrum equivalent of a Business Analyst. This may be in part due to the established relationship between requirements and stories.

Image for post
Image for post
Beware of some of the traps I’ve found with Product Owner

Cluster One

One common challenge faced by many of our teams is having a dedicated Product Owner. Historically, we have selected representatives from our client base to fill this seat. The typical profile has been a lead in that particular area with significant knowledge of current processes.

Missing Pieces

Another difficulty with the parallel role is that their expertise may apply to one small segment of a larger process. The expertise of our nominated team leads has proven to be immensely valuable in the identification of new features. Nevertheless, they are unlikely to know the intricacies of the next stage once they have handed over their output to the next team in the chain.

Image for post
Image for post
Product Owners own the entire process puzzle, rather than just a single piece

I’m So Curious

Understanding of business process is vital to being an effective Product Owner. Starting with a complete comprehension of the business domain can introduce complacency.

Image for post
Image for post
Techniques such as User Story mapping can help Product Owners to ask the right questions

That’s How People Grow

Product Ownership is a massively underrated role in some regards. Part of the reason we struggle to attract full time collaboration by curious individuals is it doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves. Like any role, to attract strong candidates we need to show their work will be appreciated.

Image for post
Image for post
Product Owner is a superhero role that deserves more respect than it often earns

Lead software engineer with a strong interest in Agile, UX and Usability. Lover of cooking, tea, photography and gin!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store