Do Product Owners Need Technical Skills?

As a product owner, you look after a digital product and work with a development team. Does this mean that you require technical skills? Should you be able to program and write code? Or is it sufficient that you take an interest in software technology and leave the rest to the team? This post shares my answers and recommendations.

Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders and Team Members

Experiencing disagreement and conflict is part of our job as product managers and product owners. We work with a broad range of people from different departments, and it's only natural that we don't always agree and sometimes clash. But constructively navigating conflict can be challenging. This article shares my recommendations for dealing with difficult people and successfully addressing conflict.

The T-Shaped Product Manager

Product management is a multi-faceted discipline. This makes our work interesting and varied. But it can also make it hard to see which skills we need to develop so we can do an even better job or take on more responsibility. In this post, I discuss balancing product-specific skills with generic product management capabilities. I suggest developing a t-shaped skills profile that ensures that you have the necessary deep skills to progress your product, as well as the broad skills required to systematically deal with common, recurring product management challenges.

Power Up: Three Ways to Increase Your Product Leadership Power

As product people—product managers and product owners—we usually don’t hold any positional power. Unlike a line manager, we cannot reward people by offering a pay rise or bonus, for instance. We cannot tell people what to do either, as the development team members and stakeholders don’t report to us. This puts us in a challenging position: We must lead others to achieve product success but we cannot leverage traditional management instruments. Luckily, there are other power sources you can tap into to boost your leadership, as I explain in this article.

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

For many years, people have debated what the difference between the product manager and the product owner role is, if the roles can coexist or not, and which one should be used. This article shares my thoughts on the topic and reflects on the origin of the product owner role.

Making Consensus-based Product Decisions

Consensus is a powerful approach to generate strong buy-in and shared ownership of a decision. But it can be challenging to apply and if used incorrectly, it can create mediocre results. This post helps you leverage consensus to make successful product decisions. It explains when and how to use it, and it discusses common traps and how to avoid them.

When should Product Backlog Grooming Take Place?

A well-groomed product backlog facilitates the development of a successful product: It incorporates new insights and learning, and it provides items that are ready to be implemented. But when should you work on the backlog? Before the new sprint starts or afterwards? And how can you decide which option is appropriate? In this post, I discuss four options with their benefits and drawbacks to help you make the right choice.