Welcome to Part II in Optimizing Product Ownership series. In Part I we
- Defined the hybrid product owner as a person responsible for leading product management and owning project management responsibilities.
- Highlighted the ambiguity of measuring your success as a hybrid product owner and how to overcome those feelings of imposter syndrome.
Part II will focus on navigating conflict of interests.
Managing conflicting interests isn’t easy.
As a Hybrid, strategic and tactical priorities can cannibalize each other.
Product success hinges on addressing user needs and driving business outcomes to actualize market gains.
Project success hinges on managing team needs and driving progress to fulfill stakeholder requests.
“Should I focus on tech debt or new features?”
Hybrid product managers make tradeoffs between process, profits and people. The following illustrates this tradeoff.
Profit keeps the lights on. People invest in products they love. Process influences results.
But, strong processes and happy employees without a profitable business rarely last. Further, strong profits and happy customers without a clear process kills productivity.
In reality, customer-facing and revenue-generating features take priority over operation-enhancing work.
Hybrids must balance competing agendas while sitting at the center of everything.
You can overcome conflicting interests by creating synergies where possible:
Hack 1 – Budget debt and refinements into the roadmap.
Include tech debt (additional engineering rework and bugs), design debt, and process improvements into the product roadmap.
Addressing these fixes are great at the end of a major initiative is a great way to give teams a break from high-visibility (read: high stakes) work.
Hack 2 – Use refinement tickets as teaching moments.
Assign bug or spike tickets to new and junior team members. This is a great way to familiarize new or junior team members with the platform.
Hack 3 – Get serious about sprint retrospectives
The sprint retrospective is designated time for the teams to self-reflect, share winning practices and repair broken ones. Make the most of your retros!
Listen to your team and really understand them. Understand the root cause of problematic processes and create tickets to fix the issue.
This is a simple, yet powerful way to show your team that their happiness matters. Your team will respect and appreciate you for it.
This concludes Part II in our Optimizing Product Ownership series. In our last installment, we will cover Preventing Burnout.