ex-Development manager as a Product Owner



  • In a new team, an ex-development manager, who's been in that position for many years, opted in as the team's Product Owner. The team has decided to do Scrum.

    The PO's Agile mentality is certainly there, but he can't get into the habit of focusing on the "what" and stray away from the "how", and trust the development team to worry about the "how". As an added difficulty, half the team members are very junior developers, and the PO is trying to guide them (or play daddy) so that he best supports them.

    However, that "guidance" is bleeding all over the team, to the point that everything is passing through him. The Scrum Master has called that out and had a discussion with the PO regarding this behavior, and the PO's arguments were that first, old habits die hard, and he is trying towards changing his stance, and second, that he needs to hold the junior devs' hand a bit, until they learn the product and mature a bit, so that they're in a position to take ownership and make their own decisions.

    All in all, the PO has a good technical background and is able to make suggestions and give guidance (he does so every day in the morning scrum), however, there is a risk that this behavior will be the norm going forward, therefore cutting off the developers' wings.

    Do you see anything wrong in this paradigm, and if so, what would you advise this PO (or Scrum Master) to do on such occasions?



  • I think the timing is important.

    During the daily scrum, he needs to focus on the "what".

    During the rest of the day, if he feels his experience (to juniors) is valuable, then there's no reason to stop him from dispensing valuable advice.

    But he cannot pollute the daily.

    Once he has to "walk around" to dispense his advise individually, he probably will be more picky as to whom he interrupts, and the "bleeding" will also stop.



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