It is almost impossible to make everything right when forming a new engineering team. Here is a list of some of my condensed learnings from the last two years creating value as a product team in a quite technical environment.
For the last almost two years I have been working as a Product Owner. I was tasked to streamline the essence of four different platform/data teams into a single product offering. The team was setup consisting on some previously assigned members to these topics from various teams.
Things I have learned
- Partner with an Agile Coach/Scrum Master is helpful if not crucial
- Automate (almost) everything keeps the engineering team focusing on the actual product
- Having the support process transparent and explicit let you do the right automation at the right time
- Keep an eye on operations from day one
- Start with SLOs track them and slowly move to SLAs
- Letting the team decide on how they organize work is successful
- Having an actual product is helpful when you are a Product Owner
- Working on “pre-aligned” tasks makes you feel unnecessary as a Product Owner
- Having short iterations with concrete goals gives you the right granularity to keep focus on what you want to achieve
- Be pragmatic – and most likely Kanban trumps Scrum
- Setting goals with the team is effective
Things I would do differently or focus more
- Have more mid term goals that can be achieved and tracked – Team OKRs might help
- Continuously and often check with your company objectives and strategy
- Always ask for (more) feedback
- Never stop to inspire your peers
- Choose your battles wisely – there is all the time “something broken” but it might be not the best time to fix everything
- Beware of routine – constantly question the status quo
These two years have been fun and somehow challenging, nonetheless, I switched back in an engineering position. I feel much more confident in an engineering environment. I have learned a lot and for sure brought in my expertise to my other product owner colleagues.