A Product Owner is considered a “Client” or “Customer”. So, most people feel, how can you invite a “Client” for an internal forum to discuss “what went well, what did not?”
- Most Product Owners indeed behave like a “Client” or a “Customer” instead of a Scrum Team Member. Therefore, the Developers do not consider the Product Owner a part of them and consider him/her as an outsider. The Product Owner should be first part of the Scrum Team and then be a “Customer” or “Client”
- Product Owners often ridicule the teams or shout at their teams for not understanding the requirements properly. Product Owners often escalate against the teams to the Line Managers of the Developers. This creates a divide between the Product Owner and the Developers. The Developers then don’t feel comfortable about opening up in front of the Product Owner. The Product Owner’s job should be to get the Developers to feel comfortable and put the “fear-factor” to rest. This means, the Product Owner should be empathetic, calm, show patience and be looked at as a Leader instead of a manager.
- Sprint Retrospective is a forum to see what went well and what did not go well. This increases the effectiveness of the next Sprint. If the Product Owner is not there in the Sprint Retrospective, then effectiveness improvement will be looked at only from the perspective of the Developers. The Developers are doing the technical work for the Product itself. So if the Product Owner is absent in a Sprint Retrospective, the effectiveness improvement cannot be done from the Product perspective
- Sprint Retrospective is a good forum to discuss the DoD (Quality Measure for next Sprint). If the Product Owner does not attend, the Sprint Planning of the next Sprint may be an issue since DoD is not finalized.
As a part of the Scrum Team, the Product Owner is a mandatory participant of the Sprint Retrospective. Sprint Retrospective is an excellent forum to thrash out any opinion differences and plan for improvements and everyone from the Scrum Team must participate.