How to be a Successful Product Owner – Be Imperfect

Squirrels Splitting a Nut to Eat – By My Son

Recently my manager asked me to give a talk to my teammates about how to excel at being a Product Owner. I was honored that my manager asked me to do this and touched that my teammates were receptive of my talk.

When I first tackled the talk, I started listing out what I thought were the qualities of a Product Owner. Yet, I quickly realized I was basically writing a job description; a list of tasks that a Product Owner does – not what makes them successful. So I decided to do an introspective; fillet myself open to my teammates and share what I think I do right, and the things I feel I don’t.

When I did this, I was very pleased with the list of talents & qualities I came up with. I think they truly reflect success IMHO. So with that in mind, I wanted to take some time here and talk through some of them over a blog entry or two (or who knows, maybe more or, less).


Like I said to my teammates, only Jesus was perfect. So, we will never be perfect being a Product Owner – or in anything. So the first thing that will make you successful as a Product Owner is to let go of perfection. Don’t stress about “it must be perfect or I will fail.” Two things are going to happen. One, if you are a Believer, God will not let you fail. Two, (and probably related to the first), you will succeed naturally.

As a Product Owner, and as I will talk about (if more happens over less), you are NOT going to know everything. Over time you will get really good with your product, but back to perfection, don’t believe or expect you will know everything.

What did you use to think of people in school who thought they knew everything? Heck, what do you think of people today if they boast they know everything?

What if there something you find you don’t know? Especially during a team meeting or meeting with your Stakeholder? Just admit it. Nothing wrong with that. Next, immediately follow up with telling them you will find out – you will get the answer. Then, make your Next Action in the project to go find a SME. You will learn, grow better in your Product, look good to your project team and succeed.

When I was growing up and the speed limit on every highway in the United States was 55 MPH, the slogan was, “Speed Kills.” Well, today I’m telling you, “(believing you have to focus on) Perfection Kills.” Accept that and you will be miles ahead.

Question: Are you a stressed out Business Analyst / Product Owner? Could it be because you are a perfectionist?

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