In this episode, Geoff Watts helps us to better understand the Product Owner role and takes us from good to great product ownership.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • If someone can be both a Business Analyst and a Product Owner
  • Why Product Owners must be DRIVEN
  • How to go from good to great product ownership

Show Notes

The Product Owner role is a difficult role to fulfill.  There are deep responsibilities and doing the job well requires multiple different areas of skill and knowledge.


Is the Business Analyst a Product Owner?

Product Owners require a certain amount of analysis to be successful.  They are informed about their product, their customers, how the product will be used, and the business environment.  They also need to pass that knowledge along to the people developing the product.

Product Owners don’t necessarily need to do all of that themselves.  Whether or not other members of the team (such as Business Analysts or developers) help them in analysis and understanding of the customers depends on the context.

One key distinction between a Business Analyst and a Product Owner is that Product Owners have decision making authority.  Business Analysts often help business representatives make the right decisions, but have no decision making authority themselves.


What Makes a Great Product Owner

The best Product Owners are driven.  They’re passionate about their product and the customers.  As they encounter challenges, they need to put their heart into in and overcome obsticles.

The acronym DRIVEN can also be used to describe the characteristics of a great Product Owner.

D stands for Decisive. Product Owners need to make a lot of decisions and often those decisions need to be made with incomplete information.

R stands for Ruthless.  Being ruthless is about understanding what value means for your product and focusing on only things that add value.  Great Product Owners are also ruthless about minimizing risk.

I stands for Informed.  Product Owners are naturally curious and will do a certain amount of research and analysis.  This allows them to make good decisions even in times of uncertainty.

V stands for versatile.  They are versatile in their leadership style.  This allows Product Owners to provide a sense of stability in times of anxiety when circumstances change.

E stands for empowering.  The best Product Owners lead from within rather from the front.  They also include relevant parties in discussions and decision making.  They delegate authority appropriately.

N stands for Negotiable.  Great Product Owners bring people together and work to understand all perspectives.  They also trade off priorities with needed.


Listen to the full episode to understand how these characteristics are linked, what to do about analysis paralysis, which area Product Owners struggle with the most, and what you can do to address those struggles.



Your Homework

Practice mindfulness.  Use some self-reflection and self-analysis.  Reflect on your effectiveness and what’s making your job more difficult than it should be.  Then focus on what’s in your area of control.

Finally, ask yourself if you’re making any assumptions about your situation that may not be true.


Links mentioned in this episode:

Geoff Watts

Geoff Watts

Founder, Inspect & Adapt Ltd.

Geoff Watts is the founder of Inspect & Adapt Ltd. and one of the most experienced and respected Scrum coaches in the world.
Having started using Scrum at British Telecom, one of the first large-scale agile adoptions, he has since coached organisations large and small through their agile journeys.  Goeff is also an inspirational speaker and author.


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