March 12, 2018

Power of Three - PO and SM relationship

Establishing or improving your relationship with a PO can bring unexpected benefits to agile scrum


“Turn all those passive presumptions you have into active agreements with each other” Click To Tweet


Tip 1: Create an ACTIVE alliance

This might seem obvious at first, but it’s often overlooked. The Agile Coaching Institute recommends you create an active alliance with your product owner from the beginning. ‘Active’ is the operative word here as it indicates that you’re not making passive assumptions but formal agreements for the benefit of the team. You’ll want to establish the following:

  1. your different roles and responsibilities
  2. your mutual expectations of each other
  3. your individual strengths and needs

Having this formally agreed with the product owner, offers a new level of understanding and gives meaning to your relationship for even greater collaboration.

Also, ensure you agree on how you would like them to react when things get difficult. This way you know the warning signs to look out for when there’s trouble afoot.

Tip 2: Play to your strengths

Putting your hard skills aside and looking at softer skills that you might possess, there may be ways for you to play to your respective strengths. This will not only make your relationship more resilient. These skills may not be obvious at first but once identified, their benefits will soon become apparent and can only stand to benefit the team.

Tip 3: Realign the alliance

Maximise on the benefit of your active alliance with the product owner by formally reviewing it. Ask one another the following:

  • how it has been from both perspectives?
  • what you have learned from one another?
  • how does it compare to the way you thought you would collaborate?

After creating the alliance, hold a review one month and then three months after that. At reviews, it’s a good idea to ask what you could do to help your alliance flourish even more.

I hope the video and tips above help you to improve your relationship with the product owner and leverage the scrum framework (aka scrum methodology) more effectively. Refer back to this page whenever you need a refresher. If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover, leave a comment below or send me a message through my website. Thanks for reading. See you next time!

About the author 

Georg Fasching

A leadership team development specialist, International Coach Federation - Professional Certified Coach, with global product management experience since 2000, employing Agile & Lean since 2010, Georg Fasching helps digital creative agencies’ leadership teams delight their clients, fulfil their people, and improve their prosperity.

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