Do you only do meetings?

Published 1-4-2024 @ 13:00:00

Last updated 16-4-2024 @ 11:21:14

A while back I was interviewed about the Role of a PO.

I felt a bit self-conscious, so I tried to “step into the shoes” of some Product Owners that I'd worked with before. One of the questions was “What do you do in a week?” and one of the follow-up questions was “So you just do meetings?”. Ouch.

I think I managed to pivot out of the question with a better answer. So why did I end up in the meetings-mindset? I had been thinking about a specific PO at the time: In the year we worked together, he was literally always in a meeting. I remember him telling me he needed to block 2 hours per week for backlog grooming, because if he didn't… more meetings!

This was a project with a lot of stakeholders. Basically the entire company was waiting for our team to deliver the future way of working for their teams. We weren't just a dependency, we were the dependency. The stakeholders had a perceived lack of control and reacted by staking their claim on our PO as an alternative. We probably could have done better as a team: be more pro-active in our communication, have more hands-on sprint reviews, or maybe the PO should have structured the stakeholder-feedback more into sessions, or with specific goals.

It's funny that from here, I can clearly see what we could've done better. But when I tried to relive the moment (as I did during the interview), I ended up making the exact same mistake!