You might face a lot of pressure every day, as a product owner—especially if you’re new to the role. During the learning process, it’s common and even expected to make some mistakes. But there are some mistakes that help you grow into a role and others that only highlight your inexperience; when you’re talking about a big position that comes with big responsibility, you should take precautions to avoid making “rookie” mistakes. Knowing about some of the commonly made mistakes that new product owners make can be a helpful first step.
As a new product owner, you’ll want to try to avoid making the following blunders:
1. Distancing Yourself From Your Team
Whether you work remotely or you simply work better independently, you may find that you isolate yourself from your team members. As a product owner, it’s important to regularly stay in communication with other team members to avoid pitfalls, misunderstandings, and other potential issues. As a new product owner, it can be easy to overlook the importance of working together as a team. If you’re unsure how your team feels about a project, be candid about it. Ask them how well they feel tasks are being communicated and if more collaboration is needed.
2. Being Too Controlling
On the other hand, as a new product owner, you may be so involved with your team members’ duties that you actually become too controlling, to the point of micromanaging. It’s understandable because as the new product owner, the product’s success is weighing on your shoulders. While you want to take charge to a certain extent, it’s imperative to put trust in your team members that they’ll do their jobs properly. Micromanaging can cause resentment, which can disrupt the Scrum process. Although it may only be your intention to ensure a positive outcome with the product, it can backfire and have a completely opposite effect.
3. Not Completely Knowing the Product
As a new product owner, you may be so preoccupied with ensuring you do a good job, that you actually overlook something crucial, and that is the product itself. As a product owner, you should know the in and out of the actual product, who it’s for, and what problems it solves. You should be the one person that others can turn to if they need clarification or have any question about the product. As a new product owner, it’s important to remember to not just familiarize yourself with the duties of your new role, but to also completely know the product you’re managing.
4. Taking on Too Much
This is a mistake in itself that can accumulate and lead to other mistakes. Product owners who are just starting out tend to underestimate just how much of their time and attention is needed to succeed in their very important new roles. Whether they’re juggling too many other side projects or managing too many products at one time, they risk burn out, which can lead to errors and other project issues. Be conscious of the amount of work you’re dividing up between yourself and your team. Also, consider the types of requests coming in from other teams within your company and the timeline expectations that are in place. If product launch timelines are unrealistic based on the scope of the project and your team size, it’s your job to speak up.
5. Unwillingness to Accept Change
It can be easy for a new product owner to get comfortable doing things a certain way. After all, when you’re in a new role, it can be difficult enough just getting established. Once you’re used to things, it can be difficult to break away from them and adapt to change. However, as a product owner, it’s important to recognize the signs of a much-needed change and be willing to adapt to these changes. That may even mean taking a quick pivot with a product plan. Failure to accept input from others or accept anything that goes against what you’re used to can hinder the success of the product, so it’s critical to approach your new role as a product owner with an agile outlook.
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Many of these weak areas are addressed directly in Simplilearn’s Agile Scrum training courses. If you’re currently contemplating a career switch, working as a product owner can be a lucrative choice. In fact, the job of a product owner made the cut on CNN’s recent Best Jobs in America list, for its low-stress and high-salary potential. If you’re just starting off as a product owner, you likely have a lot to learn. Whether you already have the basics down or you need to learn the fundamentals, Simplilearn has designed several courses to help product owners receive the training they need to succeed. Browse through our Agile and Scrum Certification Training programs for the course that best suits your education needs and career goals.