In this episode, Kent McDonald discusses the realities of being a Product Owner including what it was like to transition to that role, the pitfalls he experienced, and how you can avoid them.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • What a Product Owner does
  • Why a strong network is so important
  • How to create a shared understanding within your team
  • What Business Analysis skills you can apply in the PO role

Show Notes

The Product Owner (PO) is a critical role on a Scrum team.  It’s an extremely complex role and even experienced practitioners stumble at times.  While the tools and techniques vary across teams and organizations, the underlying skills and pitfalls are common to the role.

A PO is an individual on a Scrum team who  acts as the voice of the customer and is accountable for managing the Product Backlog so as to maximize value.

Click Here to Get Your Free Guide to What a Product Owner Should Be, Do, and Know

As a Product Owner, you’ll need to create a strong network inside your organization to get answers quickly for the team.  Any delay in responding to team questions or addressing impediments that slow down or stop progress will mean delays in product delivery.

You’ll also need to establish a clear and compelling vision of the product and create a shared understanding within the team.  Use the highest bandwidth form of communication available; ideally, face to face communication with a whiteboard.

Make sure you work towards minimizing outputs and maximizing positive business outcomes.


Listen to the full episode to hear all of Kent’s tips and advice on success as a Product Owner.


Your Homework

Change the way you’re creating a shared understanding.  Talk through examples with different perspectives (business, developer, and tester).  Be willing to have a conversation about the product, talk through examples of the features, and most importantly, explain why.


Links mentioned in this episode:Beyond Requirements Book

Kent McDonald

Kent McDonald

Founder - Knowledge Bridge Partners

Kent McDonald uncovers better ways of delivering value by doing it and helping others do it.  His more than 20 years of experience include work in business analysis, strategic planning, project management, and product development in a variety of industries.  As the founder of Knowledge Bridge Partners, he helps organizations figure out the right things to do in their IT and product development work. He currently practices those ideas as Product Owner for the Agile Alliance.  Kent is also the author of the book, Beyond Requirements.

Get your free guide to What a Product Owner Should Be, Do, and Know.


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