#167 – The Technical PO

Having a Product Owner with a technical background (i.e., having extensive knowledge of the relevant product development techniques or experience of working as a Developer with the specific technology) is a two-edged sword; on one side, their knowledge and experience can help them understand the need to build-in quality into PBIs, and/or prioritize Enablers when ordering the Product Backlog, leading to a better product.

On the other hand, the risk is that the PO with their technical background acts “too much” like a Developer. If they even contribute to the how of implementing the expected outcomes in the Increment (i.e., develop), and not just the why and what, it can skew the dynamics of the Scrum Team and inhibit the Scrum values of focus and commitment, as taking up the PO accountability will only be done part-time, which will affect the product negatively. Therefore, find the balance, so the PO’s technical background becomes an advantage and not a hindrance to maximize the value of the product.