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How do you evaluate a product owner? More specifically, how would one conduct a performance review of a product owner? What qualities or characteristics would one look at when reviewing a product owner?

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What would be the purpose of evaluating a product owner? –  Andres F. Dec 5 '12 at 12:57
    
@AndresF. Perhaps the Product Owner or upper management would like to know how the Product Owner is performing in their role. In the Agile process, the PO indeed has responsibilities to the development group despite the fact that often the PO plays the role of the unquestionable Lord and Emporer of the software. It is not supposed to be this way even though it is common. –  maple_shaft Dec 5 '12 at 13:43
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@maple_shaft Makes sense. Why was this question closed as off-topic, then? If evaluating a product owner is part of an Agile process, then the question is very much on-topic! –  Andres F. Dec 5 '12 at 14:34
    
@AndresF. I completely agree and disagree with the community closure of this. I reopened it, yet invite the community to re close or start a meta conversation if they feel I was wrong in doing this. If it is closed again however I will not reopen again. –  maple_shaft Dec 5 '12 at 14:39
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2 Answers

As questions I'd consider useful:

  • When there is a new story created, how much work is being done to make sure of its quality? Is there a lot of work for developers to do before working on something or is it good to go once the PO has written the request?

  • How available for questions and clarification has the PO been over the course of the evaluation period?

  • How receptive to feedback has the PO been in terms of the evolution of the process and team over the course of several sprints?

From a higher level, here's what I'd be watching:

  1. Decision-making. From prioritizing the backlog to clarifying the requirements on a story, there are lots of decisions that may fall to the PO to handle. Was this an issue for the team in terms of delivering work? Were there frequent delays in getting things done?

  2. Communication. How well were the priorities communicated? Were there demonstrations of functionality where the PO provided either feedback directly or brought in customers to review new functionality to ensure that it was the desired results?

  3. Vision. This goes a bit in hand with communication but the idea here is to know what big dates are coming up, how is the work being reviewed and what direction is the team being driven.

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Ask for feedback from the developers which were part of the team developing the product he 'owned'. You could ask questions like:

  1. was he able to answer requirements related questions in a timely manner?
  2. when presented with multiple alternatives in regards to a feature, was he able to make a clear decision with regard of what he wants?
  3. How often did he change the requirements? This is something that always happens. Being able to cope with this is what it means to be agile. However, if this happens very often, than that's a sign that the product owner has no idea of what he actually wants
  4. Was he able to provide clear feedback during demo sessions?
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