We often coach Product Owners. One of the things we’ve come to realise over time is that 2 day theoretical courses out of the office are not a great way to help Product Owners. Although these courses are useful and help to teach concepts which are important for good Product Ownership they leave a gap because very few Product Owners have the time to apply what they have learned when they get back to the office. Through some experimentation we discovered that a much better approach (or one that works well in conjunction with training) is to run short workshops where Product Owners learn a technique and apply it to their work in the same workshop. We’ve run so many of these workshops that we used them to create a series of books to help others coach Product Owners.
But where do you get started? Especially with new Product Owners? Recently we ran a workshop with a group of Product Owners to identify what workshops would help them best. We asked them to look at twelve areas and decide if those things were working well for them, needed improvement or were not important for them. We consciously removed any Scrum terminology from the areas.
- Communicating status to stakeholders
- Setting predictable dates
- Creating and managing a product roadmap
- Prioritising the list of work
- Aligning work to the company’s strategic goals
- Giving clear requirements to the development team
- Getting what you need from development
- Splitting work into small independent pieces
- Releasing high quality solutions into production
- Managing project work versus urgent support requests
- Estimating how long something will take, and what it will cost
- Deciding what needs to be in a first release
We also asked if there were other areas of concern, but from our experience the initial issues most Product Owners struggle with are those listed above. Once we have a view of how each Product Owner feels we can select workshops to tackle the areas most people want help with.
Here is a list of workshops we might run based on the areas mentioned above, as well as a reference to the book or blog posts where you can find out more.
|Area||Workshop||Reference Book or Post|
|Communicating status to stakeholders||Stakeholders||Mastering Backlogs|
|Setting predictable dates||Release Dates||Release Planning|
|Creating and managing a product roadmap||Current Roadmap||Release Planning|
|Prioritising the list of work||Portfolio Prioritisation||Release Planning|
|Aligning work to the company’s strategic goals||Impact Mapping||Impact Mapping|
|Giving clear requirements to the development team||User Stories||Agile Requirements|
|Getting what you need from development||Acceptance Tests||Agile Requirements|
|Splitting work into small independent pieces||Splitting Stories||Agile Requirements|
|Releasing high quality solutions into production||Acceptance Tests||Agile Requirements|
|Managing project work versus urgent support requests||Prioritisation||Prioritsation Technique|
|Estimating how long something will take, and what it will cost||Estimation||Estimation Workshop|
|Deciding what needs to be in a first release||Story Maps||Release Planning|