In search of a better Product Owner


By Chandan Patary

Bangalore, India


As described in the Scrum Guide, a Scrum Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team. I have worked with many great product owners where I have learned a lot from them. They have created many successful products. I was thinking to write down some the key points which will affect the product owners and the products. Organization can build by great products and destroy by the bad products. Product owner are the key player for the product building. It is important to identify this key person for this key role. This paper will explain about the product owner’s journey map. How to find a Product owner, how a Project manager can switch into a Product owner role, How Product Owner will be different from Scrum Master, How Product will manage tough customer, How Product will build Design thinking culture?

  1. Recruiting a Product Owner? How?

I was a part of a panel where I was helping the team to identify a suitable Product Owner for their product. My Team has asked me to help them to find the best Product Owner (PO) for their product.

I was thinking if I ask below questions, I will get the best PO for the project need.

Thought of asking to the candidates to share with me few stories related to the below areas.

  1. Business Model Canvas: Please share with me, how you as a Product Owner have used Business Model Canvas at your work. What are the key challenges you have faced?
  2. What are the key steps for customer value creation? Customer discovery steps?
  3. Share your journey of creating customer profile. And share with me about the end results. Explain Personas, Usability and Empathy, how you have used them?
  4. Tell me some of the benefits customers got from your products and services.
  5. What are the various driving forces for you to decide customer products and services?
  6. How have you applied Minimum Viable solution? Sketch it on a napkin. Take a couple of napkins and explain the thoughts.
  7. What does your team’s shared vision looks like? Please write it down on a napkin.
  8. Explain the User Story format. Explain INVEST; DEEP. Explain three Cs of user stories. Explain Storyboard technique. Share few Acceptance Testing strategies you have used.
  9. Explain the characteristics of Product Backlog Iceberg. Why is it called Iceberg?
  10. Explain Kano and MOSCOW techniques.
  11. Explain rational to use of Fibonacci number during estimation.
  12. Explain various Slicing techniques. Give us a couple of examples. What was your Definition of Ready?
  13. Explain how you have used Story Mapping at your project. Explain Minimum Marketable Feature and how you have used it at your project?
  14. What are the various Non Functional requirements you have considered? What is a system quality card? How you have used it? What are the various “-ilities“?
  15. How do you calculate Business Value? How you used BVM(Business Value Modeling) Techniques? What benefit did you get?
  16. Explain to me how you have used gherkin language at your project?
  17. Challenges in Collaborative exercise? Share with me few key challenges. Explain a few key challenges to drive specification workshop.
  18. Explain about the comprehensive Testing strategy you have used for your product.
  19. Explain to me a few scenarios where “before and after learning” about feature development was applied. Where have you corrected some key assumptions (Things you have learned about your proposed solution after validating the problem through interacting with customers)?
  20. What key challenges have you faced during sprint review meeting? Share with me some stories. How did you manage your technical debts and spikes?
  21. Share with me some stories and actions where you have applied Inspect and Adapt approach. How have you applied the Build-Measure-Learn approach?
  22. How have you applied Design thinking approach in your current product solution development context?
  23. What are the key metrics you have measured? One Metric that Matters most?

I will be more interested to hear real time use cases from the candidates. If He or She has built any solutions or product he/she will be able to tell me some interesting insight about all the above points. In a Process I am also planning to check the Attitude, Passion and Curiosity to learn etc. soft skill and domain expertise.


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About the Author

Chandan Lal Patary

Bangalore, India


Mr. Chandan Lal Patary
currently works as Enterprise Agile coach at Societe Generale. He has deep experience in developing Software applications across various domains and has successfully executed many Projects. Chandan has worked on domain like Banking, Healthcare, Aerospace, Building automation, Power automation, Industrial Automaton under real time mission critical product development to large scale application development. Chandan has 18+ years of industry experience. He is a SAFe Agilist (SA) from 2017.He is certified PMP from 2008, Green Belt certified holder from 2005. Chandan is an agile practitioner and Certified Scrum Master from 2011. Chandan holds a Bachelor’s from National Institute of Technology (NIT-Agartala) in Electrical Engineering. He has completed one year Executive General Management program from IIM Bangalore in 2007. He has published 6 e-books, 20 technical papers, posted 326 Linked-in blogs, 30 Slide share Presentations. He was speaker at 10 various conferences (India Agile week- 2013 and 2015, Software Test Conference-STC2014, Regional Scrum Gathering 2015, and PMPC2013). He can be reachable through email/LinkedIn: [email protected]

To view other works by Mr. Patary, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/chandan-lal-patary/