If you want to be a value maximizer, you’ve got to be bold.

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Photo by Artem Bryzgalov on Unsplash

Companies claim to be agile, yet they expect a precise quarterly roadmap plan. The management board describes the teams as self-organized units. But managers constantly evaluate individual performance.

Misconceptions are wide-spread. To thrive as a Product Owner, you’ve got to be bold. Otherwise, be ready to live in an environment where the harmony is fake.

Let me share some insights on how you can build trust by not following orders blindly. …

It’s time to stop with the feature factory anti-pattern.

A group of people chatting around the table
A group of people chatting around the table
Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Last week, the new Scrum Guide was finally released. But what should Product Owners pay particular attention to?

For me, the Scrum Guide 2020 strives to solve a common problem for many Scrum Teams: the feature factory anti-pattern. Over a decade working with Scrum, I’ve observed many teams doing Scrum to maximize the output instead of maximizing the real value for the end-users and businesses. The new Scrum Guide has new ingredients that can solve this problem.

Let me share with you the most important changes from a Product Owner perspective.

Product Goal

A widespread misconception with Scrum is: the art of doing twice the work in half of the time. In other words, doubling the number of useless features delivered to end-users. That’s a mistake I’ve made. Unfortunately, I was not the only one to use Scrum to maximize the output. …

Estimates don’t matter at all. In the end, how stakeholders deal with estimates define your chances of success.

A frustrated person
A frustrated person
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I’m shocked by the amount of false expectations generated by estimates. Unfortunately, many companies do not accept estimates as they are; imprecise by nature. Companies perceive numbers as a commitment. Once it’s estimated, it has to match that. If something needs to be re-estimated, it’s a sign of bad work. Why do we face so many troubles with estimates?

  • Estimates are not commitments.
  • Estimates do not represent a contract.
  • Re-estimating is not a sign of incompetence.

It’s time to face the nature of estimates. Until companies accept estimates are not contracts, endless false expectations will be generated.

It Doesn’t Matter How You Estimate

It’s useless to spend time defining how to estimate better. It doesn’t matter if you use story-point, T-shirt size, or any other method. You can have the perfect estimate method ever, but how your stakeholders perceive the estimates matters the most. …

The invisible problems slow Scrum Teams down when the Product Owner is also the Scrum Master.

A man puzzled looking at the computer
A man puzzled looking at the computer
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Some days ago, a friend of mine told me he received a different job offer. The company wanted him to be the Product Owner and the Scrum Master at the same time. He was puzzled and asked my opinion. Well, I’ve already been in such a situation twice. I’ve shared some of my learnings with my friend, and after that, he decided how to proceed.

I guess you can imagine my friends’ decision. Allow me to share some of my learnings from being the Product Owner and Scrum Master at the same time.

The Birth of a Sub-Optimal Team

Some companies insist on working with Scrum without a dedicated person for the Scrum Master role. I’ve stumble upon some statements that shocked…

The sum of frequent small mistakes will inevitably lead Scrum Teams to undesired results.

It began as a mistake written with red letters
It began as a mistake written with red letters
Photo by Varvara Grabova on Unsplash

The Product Owner role is complex. Many organizations still lack a proper environment for Scrum Teams to flourish. Therefore, whenever Product Owners face undesired results, it’s common to search for external factors to justify the results. I used to think like that. I was wrong. The main problem was me. My daily mistakes blocked the team from succeeding.

Such mistakes impede the Development Team from succeeding. That’s why Product Owners should know the anti-patterns and escape from them. Let me share with you the most common mistakes I’ve made. …

Not knowing how to behave in different situations leads Product Owners to painful failures.

A trainer talking to the boxer
A trainer talking to the boxer
Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

Product Owners carry a massive burden on their backs. The value maximizer responsibility is daunting. Even though many companies work with Scrum, they still misunderstand what value means. Yet, Product Owners are ultimately responsible for maximizing the value.

For years, I’ve been wearing the Product Owner hat. Many times my misconceptions held me back from thriving. But something helped me significantly overcome the challenges I faced: knowing how to behave in each situation.

Allow me to share with you the different roles Product Owners should have on their repertoire.

The Player

Many Companies perceive the Product Owners as a position above the Development Team. This is a mistake. …

Until Product Owners understand what NOT to do as a Product Owner, falling into endless traps will block them from succeeding.

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Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

When I started my career as a Product Owner, I thought knowing what a Product Owner is would lead me to success. I was too optimistic. I knew what I should do, but I didn’t know what I should not. That’s why I’ve fallen into endless pitfalls, which held me back from succeeding.

The life of a Product Owner is extremely challenging. Companies don’t have a shared understanding of what a Product Owner is. Yet, they expect us to maximize the value for the end-users and businesses. …

Don’t ask for permission. Ask for forgiveness.

A guy playing chess
A guy playing chess
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Do organizations respect the Product Owner’s decision?

Is the Product Owner empowered to make decisions at all?

Can a person be the Product Owner as the Scrum Guide suggests?

From my experience, Product Owners in practice differ dramatically from the Scrum Guide. But, strong Product Owners don’t use the misconceptions as excuses to stop them. Instead, they are bold to challenge the status quo and change the game!

Three common mistakes that ensure Product Owners will lead Scrum Teams to watered-down results

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Photo by Raúl Nájera on Unsplash

The mission of Product Owners is to maximize the value of the product for end-users and businesses. Yet, many Product Owners fail to achieve this mission. For years, I’ve experienced many misconceptions as a Product Owner. My daily mistakes reduced the chances to thrive as a Scrum Team.

Let me share with you some common mistakes of Product Owners. Then, hopefully, you can avoid such pitfalls and succeed faster as a Product Owner.

1. The Goal of the Sprint Is To Deliver Features

As a Product Owner, how do you start your Sprint Planning? Do you craft a Sprint Goal first with the Scrum Team, or do you first define what Product Backlog Items will be part of the Sprint? …

Focus is not about saying “yes” to what is essential. It’s about saying “no” to what distracts us from our goals.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I used to think that Product Owners need to say ‘yes’ to every essential request. I learned the result of this behavior the hard way. When we try to please everyone, we please no one. Instead, we should learn to be value maximizers. Our mission is to ensure we lead the team to deliver the highest value possible for the product. Why’s that so complicated?

The Product Owner role is daunting. Everyday end-users, customers, and stakeholders come with multiple requests, which they argue to be urgent. If you choose to please all of your stakeholders, in the short-term, they will be happy. But by doing that, are you maximizing the value? Probably not. …


David Pereira

Head of Product Management @virtualidentity. Agile enthusiast. Free e-Book: What not to do as a Product Owner https://bit.ly/35tx7W4

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