avatarJoaquim M.

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Features You Need To Have As a Product Owner

Working in IT is not for everyone.

Some people should not be Product Owners. Some blame the team for their failures and are not accountable and therefore the malicious low in conscientiousness types gravitate into that field of work. But also Dark Tetrad types.

So after evaluating individuals for almost 10 years and more than 7 700+ individuals from all parts of life and different jobs.

These are the MUST-HAVE features in the role of being a Product Owner!

Feature #1: You need to love working with people

To apply and work as a Product Owner you need to love people or you will set yourself up for failure.

For you to be perceived as a loving personality you need to show it. That is done by being honest and humble.

You have to have this fundamental feature of loving people in general.

Feature #2: You need to have the right personality

Not all humans have a personality for this line of work.

Your personality needs to be within these ranges when you do the HEXACO test.

  • Extroversion — You have to be medium to high in extroversion to exert happiness and drive. Make sure you also test for Grandios narcissism and Bipolar disorder if you are above 70.
  • Agreeableness — Your level of agreeableness needs to be medium (normal) or you will not get along with others. You can’t be too agreeable or you will not have the ability to take charge and question things.
  • Conscientiousness — Needs to be medium/high to high (80) or you will not be able to organize the backlog and do a roadmap for the product. If you are over 80 then you run the risk of becoming a perfectionist, Anorexic, and high in disgust sensitivity which is a pathology. Read about Hitler because he was super high in conscientiousness.
  • Emotional stability (neuroticism) — needs to be low which disqualifies a lot of people. If you are reactive which is medium to high. Everyone will walk on eggshells around you since you are reactive. If unstable you run the risk of being a vulnerable narcissist.
  • Openness to exploration — needs to be higher than medium since developers are high and you will not understand them if you are not high. That means you are an intellect understand conceptual things and can see a problem from multiple angles. You will also have the ability to see things from other people's perspectives which medium to low have problems with.
  • Honesty & Humility — Needs to be higher than medium. Or the probability of you being Psychopathic, Narcissistic, Machiavellian, and Sadist is high. No Enterprise or Company will succeed with those personality types in any team. Remember that everyone will react to your behavior since you do not behave like the rest of the group of normal individuals who are honest and humble. Psychological safety comes from honesty & humility so the teams will be destroyed and all good team members will resign.
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ=Empathy) — Needs to be higher than 50 for the individual to empathize with others. It also protects against Dark Tetrad personality

Feature #3: You need to find people interesting as an individual

If team members do not feel that you are genuinely interested in what they say or take their obstacles seriously enough. They will lose trust in you.

Having lower trust in others around you increases your mortality from cardiovascular disease. So making sure that you are honest and humble is detrimental to all team members. That is partly why the company invests in you to make them perform.

Taking an interest in others has to be genuine or they will sense you faking it.

Feature #4: You need to listen properly

If you do not understand the methodology of listening, which is a primary component of the role of a Product Owner, you will not be trusted to do your job.

Stakeholders will react to you because they sense you are the wrong person for the job. Listening is the basis of communication. To be a good communicator you need to understand others completely. That is done by summarising what the other person just said to “validate” that you did understand him or her.

Only when you get the sign that you have understood, you can start thinking of your reply to that.

Feature #5: You have to master Relationship and Task leadership

This comes back to Maslows Hierarchy of Needs that he presented back in 1943.

The first three levels are the ones to pay attention to.

  1. Physical needs — Access to toilets, food, water. This is regulated by your Hypothalamus.
  2. Physical safety — You need to feel safe as a team member within the group. This comes back to Honesty & Humility.
  3. Social safety — This refers to Psychological safety and safety from being canceled back-talked or loved. It is referred to as Female Indirect aggression and this is something girls learn at six years of age and mainly targets other women with. Workplaces are not excluded from this. Some men also use this type of aggression. This also comes back to Honesty & Humility.

Product Owners need to make sure these three levels are taken care of or the team members will be engaged in bad behaviors and complain and not produce very much.

Task leadership

You need to have a strong skill in communication.

Because you need to be able to listen so that you can make sure the team members understand their task. The task is also the boundaries and rules for their work. You need to master that for them to understand you and like you.

Or your next meeting with your contract owner might be due to your poor performance.

Relationship leadership

You need to be able to build relationships with your team.

For you to do that you need all the above qualities. You need to be:

  1. The correct personality to be
  2. genuinely interested and liked by others
  3. to be able to listen curiously
  4. so that you can describe the task they need to perform.

Feature #6: You need to love human psychology

For you to have all these skills you need to study human psychology and particularly.

  • Personality psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Dark Tetrad Personalities

If you do not master these fields you will not understand and interpret what is happening and why in the team. You need this knowledge to identify bad actors and to get rid of them if need be to impose psychological safety.

You also need these skills for you to promote good behaviors from good team members.

Those are six features a Product Owner needs to have according to me!

P.S. (I’m so grateful for your support!)

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