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Boosting the Product Owner onboarding with a dedicated Retrospective

I tried the “Build your own Product Owner” Retrospective activity: here is my feedback

Retromat suggests an activity named Build your own Scrum Master:

Retromat: BYOSM – Build your own Scrum Master (#94)

The team assembles the perfect SM & takes different points of view

retromat.org

This activity can also be used to think about the Product Owner. And it’s exactly what we did!

An amazing way to embrace a new Product Owner in the team

I proposed to the team to do this activity during the Retrospective because they welcomed a new Product Owner in the team during the last sprint. The idea was that this activity would enable everyone to get a better start with the new Product Owner, as well as the Product Owner with her new team.

Basically, let’s try not to waste too much time getting to know each other but instead let’s share straightaway how we can get it to work.

What gets shared during this activity

Everyone gets to know what they expect from the Product Owner

This works both ways: on one side the members of the development team express their expectations from their Product Owner, but on the other hand the Product Owner expresses what the Product Owner role means to her.

This is an interesting way to pinpoint the kind of dynamics that the team will build. For instance, should the Product Owner be technical or not? Given the expectations of the development team and given the experience, abilities and wishes of the Product Owner, everyone can quickly agree on how things should work.

Again, it’s all about speeding up the start of the team. Future Retrospectives will allow to refine further this relationship based on actual facts and behaviors and facts.

Everyone shares how they work, and give advice to allow the Product Owner to do his job smoothly

That one really buys time.

Let’s say that your the kind of people that when you disagree with something you keep it for yourself until you can’t take it anymore and then you explode.

Well, if you share this fact with your colleagues, you will rarely get to the point where you explode. Because since your colleagues know how you work, they will take it into account and be careful about it. In this case, they might be extra careful when you’re silent and make sure that you agree before moving on. Or they will simply learn to read your body language instead of interpreting your silence as a tacit agreement.

This moment is exactly about that.

If you work in a certain way, just share it. We’re not here to play guessing games.

Like the previous moment, this also work both ways: what the Product Owner needs to know about the members of the development team, and what the members of the development team needs to know about the Product Owner.

How can we help the Product Owner to do a brilliant job?

And now we’re looking to the future. What can we do to help the new Product Owner be truly amazing? That part of the activity can easily lead to Retrospective actions.

And to complete this idea…

We used the rest of the Retrospective as a way to do some team building.

For instance, the opening activity of this Retrospective was about everyone to share which was her favorite fruit and to explain why. I know it sounds silly (and it actually is silly) yet that’s a simple way to share and create a good mood.

Great feedbacks on this Retrospective

The team really liked this Retrospective activity.

For once it is really different from common Retrospectives where you basically sort facts and ideas along some kind of canvas.

And then it was really useful given the specific context of the team, with this idea of boosting the adoption of the new Product Owner in the team. To have everything running smoothly instead of a rocky start.

Let’s finish with what said the Product Owner about this Retrospective:

“Hey, that’s one of the few Retrospectives that I have found useful. Thanks and good job.”

Well, you’re welcome.

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