Product Owner Flavour No. 3: The Buy-in

This is the third installment of our series of blogposts about different ways to be a PO. For the previous posts see here for part 1 and here for part 2.

The Buy-in pwns

If you look up “complete ownership”, there’s likely to be a picture of this Product Owner. He identifies with the task at hand to an extent that it requires the most stern-hearted 1940’s British nanny to not be won over to his team. If he believes in something, there’s no doubt that he will run in front to get to the finish line. He has a knack for formulating visions and goals which are both ambitious and attractive.

His greatest strength is also a challenge: his own buy-in means he has to work hard to get a similar sense of ownership in the people he works with. He manages this by being really well prepared for any conversation where he suspects it might be necessary to defend a decision or align expectations.

Don’t do it if you can’t sell it

The Buy-in has a knack for selling. He’s not the traditional salesman with well-honed skills of persuasion, but rather he makes a choice. A very conscious choice to trust his own buy-in. A choice to believe in his buy-in and an admirable ability to accept that it is necessary to thoroughly understand those who don’t share his devotion before he is ever able to enjoy their support.

The moment he feels even the most subtle signals of agreement, he sets all sails and his unwavering enthusiasm becomes apparent.

You really have to talk to someone about this

When structuring the backlog, there’s calculated strategy involved. In his case, it’s the communication strategy which prevails. If he can successfully communicate his reasoning for priorities, he feels that the prioritisation is right. This forces him to consider both his customers and his peers and he must make an effort to understand their expectations and perspectives in his work.


In the next post, we’ll look at The Confident PO.

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April 26th, 2016 by