How to be a Successful Product Owner – Love and Integrity

I have had this post ready for a long time.  Like, a really long time.  But I could not pull the trigger and publish it.  Finally, in the last few days, I figured out why – being afraid of my discipleship.  Let me explain and, I hope, provide comfort to those who are not “religious.”
Please, bear with me on this.
Before I became a Christian and a Believer, I was not.  Period.  Did not believe in God.  Thought those that did were nuts.  And, if someone wrote about, or talked about, or I read something from somewhat that was about “Religion,” frankly I was offended.  So, now, today, I figured out that I am afraid to offend someone with all the Jesus talk.  So, please, please.  I know you are primarily here for the Product Owner and Business Analyst stuff.  And, if you don’t care about “the Jesus talk,” I hope you will give me grace.  In the meantime, I’m clicking publish, I’m done with being afraid, and, it’s my blog – I can talk about Jesus if I want to!  But, also, I want this blog and entry to help you.
Previously I wrote about how you cannot and should not try to be perfect.  Only Jesus was the perfect human being; we are not!  (That’s one of the reasons why it’s so great to have Him in one’s life!)  So moving beyond trying to be perfect will free you to excel – both as being a BA, Product Owner and in life in general.  So, next up on my list is “Love.”
I bet that strikes you as being kind of odd.  “I’m here reading this to become a better Product Owner and Business Analyst – so what’s love got to do with it?”  (Thank you Tina Turner.)  Well, I actually had not intended to tie Christianity further into this post – but I guess God’s just going to make it happen.  I’m glad you ask why “love” is involved.  In case you didn’t know, Jesus said love is the ultimate commandment:
‘Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘ Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV
Back to my personal experience, and my advice for you – showing love, compassion, caring, sympathy at times when things are not going well for the department or business, will help you go far.  And by this, I mean sincerely.  I mean, you have to feel it in your heart.  I watch BA’s and PM’s in meetings.  They smile, they nod.  But, I can tell, they don’t care.  That may or may not come across in the meeting (most of the time, it does and that simply does not help anything), but after the meeting; that “love lost” translates into the BA / PM not caring and not moving the project forward.  The project quality may suffer due to not caring emotionally.  The tasks of the project simply don’t get done and the project falls behind schedule because they don’t physically want to do it.  So, search your heart.  Do you love what you do?  Do you sincerely care for the organization?  The project?  If not, this is going to greatly impact how you perform.
Several items above, including performance, relate directly to “Integrity” – so that’s why I went ahead and lumped that trait or quality into this writing.  To be successful for your stakeholders, you have to get the job done.  Back to “being imperfect,” if you don’t know the answer, you have to have integrity and follow up with the answer.  Your stakeholder is trusting you to be their guide; their hero; to help them excel / grow / get out of the jam they are in.  You cannot do this without integrity.  I’ve seen projects where it’s been attempted, and at first it looks like the project is succeeding or completed, but then holes are found and the stakeholders slowly figure out that the PO / BA / PM really didn’t do their job.  (See where the love is then! 😉)  Again, integrity is critical to success – and it has to be sincere – which goes right back to love.  See, tying the two together worked out – all thanks to Him.
I sincerely hope that after reading this, you will stop and reflect – for many minutes – about where your heart is.  Not only in your Product Owner / Business Analyst / Project Manager job.  But, in life.  Do you smile?  Do you enjoy what you do?  Do you enjoy the people you associate with?  Are they good people to be associating with?  Is your heart truly filled with love?  Find healthy ways to make sure it is.  And, yes, one more plug for Christianity.  In my MANY years of doing life and career, including reading all the best business books and “self-help” out there, I only came to Christ in the past 10-ish years and quickly found that His way is the only way I have found, and you will find, that works.

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?