Organization, Product Owner

Dysfunctional Product Owner Patterns

  1. One PO per Development Team instead of one PO per Product
  2. Multiple PO for multiple smaller related “products”  (e.g.  PO for Android PowerPoint, PO for iPhone PowerPoint, PO for Windows Desktop PowerPoint, PO for Mac PowerPoint, PO for PowerPoint 365)
    • There is only ONE product here  – PowerPoint.  Android, iPhone, Windows Desktop, etc are different technology “channels” used to deliver the product)
  3. One PO per feature/component/epic (“feature” product owner, “component” Product Owner, “epic” product owner)
  4. One “onsite” PO & N “offshore” PO
  5. PO being the bottleneck in communication, acting as in intermediately between the team & stakeholders/customers increasing the number of “hops” in communication
  6. PO not having the authority to terminate the Sprint
  7. ex-BA now relabeled as PO – nothing changes in the work they do
  8. PO not from Product Management or Product Marketing (if building external facing product) or not from business (if building internal products)
  9. Relabeling “project managers” to PO
  10. “technical” Product Owner (usually from engineering/IT), “proxy” Product Owner, “functional” Product Owner ( i.e. functional managers are *relabeled*  as Product Owner e.g. “Dev” Product Owner, “QA” Product Owner)
  11. PO not being a subject matter/domain expert
  12. PO having multiple Development Team level Product Backlog instead of having ONE product backlog and multiple teams pulling from them
  13. PO not understanding the customers/users of the Product and not understanding the market
  14. Others in the organization not respecting PO’s final decision on the Product Backlog
  15. PO spoon-feeding the Development Team with Product Backlog items (duh!! seriously? ) instead of them writing it
  16. “Product Owner” being a committee instead of a single person
  17. PO & Development Team member being the same person
  18. PO & Scrum Master being the same person
  19. PO managing “projects”,”programs” etc
  20. No Product Owner
  21. Outsourced PO/PO from service vendors when the client owns the budget
  22. PO not meeting with the Dev. Team face to face periodically (if not co-located)
  23. PO not able to effectively communicate his/her vision to the Dev. Team, SM, and to others in the organization
  24. PO not owning the budget or ROI of the outcomes / product
  25. “Regional” Product Owner  – Example – PO for North America, PO for EMEA, PO for South America, etc

4 thoughts on “Dysfunctional Product Owner Patterns”

    1. @Agile_DNA – the consequences of all these dysfunctions are dysfunctional product ownership, and the manifestation of these dysfunctions will vary from organization to organization


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