6 Tips for the Product Owners on how to Manage Stakeholders

  1. Learn to say ‘no’ to stakeholders. People tend to ask for a lot of things. But your role as a Product Owner is to deliver products people use. Not to please everyone. In your role as a product owner, knowing when it says no makes the team focused on providing value, clear communication.

2. Stop treating all stakeholders equally. Draw a matrix, depending on the interest and power of your stakeholder, add it to the map. The ones:

3. Act like an owner to increase your mandate. You are the one who has the full ownership, control and knows the best the product. You own it! When I coach PO, I always do the mindset coaching as well because they must feel and act with vision, responsibility, secure on their actions. There is never a perfect way, but any decision is better than no decision.

4. Know your stakeholders’ interests by heart. If you want to succeed as PO, you must know your audience: what is the problem you are solving? What does your ideal customer thinks, feels, behaves? What do they need? How do they use your product?

5. Don’t be a proxy between the stakeholders and the Development Team. I’m a project manager by trade, and while the Project Manager must be the interface between the stakeholders and the development team, I always encouraged the open discussions, direct communications between the team and the stakeholders. While doing that, I saw there is a high engagement of the stakeholders in the product; their expectations are met better as the dev team understands better the customer. Plus that more brains together value more than one funnel.

6. Involve your Scrum Master / Agile Coach in stakeholder management. While you own the product, the Scrum Master/Agile Coach owns the process. They will help you with tools and techniques to manage the stakeholders and especially HOW to meet their expectations.

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