The Overworked Product Owner
The role of the Product Owner is so critical to give that person more duties than being only a full-time Product Owner. Unfortunately, many companies prefer to assign this role to a manager who has to attend several projects, corporate meetings, visit clients, and other staff that not allow him to focus on delivering a successful product to the market.
My last two clients chose Product Owners that were with other projects (some of them following waterfall) so they have never been with team members every day so they produce delays to get some answers from them and frustration to team members that have to wait many times to obtain their feedback.
In addition, there is another worse scenario. Which is it? The worse scenario is when the Product Owner has to attend other remote projects that take a lot of time and effort from him. Finally, he has to split his day between calls, remote conference and several meetings.
One of my worst experiences dealing with Product Owners was in a multinational company who has an IT director that interrupted every Product Owner assigning them more duties and projects. As soon as I talked with the director recommended to him to replace each Product Owner because all of them were so busy to attend Sprint Planning (don’t mention daily meeting), Sprint Review or demo, etc. His answer shocked me because he admitted that it was his fault to give more duties and projects to each Product Owner. Fortunately, he got my point and hired others Product Owners who only were focused on their projects.
Many times Product Owners are not empowered to say: “No” sorry I can’t take any more project because this position is too demanding for me and I want to do my job well and full time.
Last but not least, Scrum Master has to help to Product Owners when they are so busy to write user stories, prioritize the backlog and so on but the role of Product Owner is very important to do many things at the same time.