Have you ever worked with a product owner who had testing experience?

From what I’ve noticed so far, the most effective product owners have been people with a lot of experience performing different roles. And the technical team members respond really well to tech-savvy POs.

I’m wondering what the rest of the community thinks about this topic.

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@mirza - It depends on how you define testing experience. There are those that think testing is really easy and because they ran 1 Test Case a while ago they have “Experience”.
But I did work with Product Owners and Managers that did have testing experience and I must say it went both well and bad

  • It was ok that they really understood the importance of testing

  • It was bad because you had to do things the way they did. In one project someone said : Well you can do that API automation with AutoIT, it was really good when I tested.

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That’s a good point, people’s biases are impacted by their previous experiences - like a PO who was a developer or a tester in the past, might have strong opinions about how things should be done. Fortunately, the ones I’ve worked with so far had this under control, but it always felt good to speak to someone from a “managerial” role and be completely understood. :smiley:

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I’ve definitely experienced this with engineering managers, especially when it’s the Peter Principle at work, and a strong IC ends up being “promoted” to a manager, without that person realizing it’s a very different role.

The other pain point I’ve had with technical POs and/or other roles that have impacts upon engineering teams is that while they have technical experience, it’s often dated. So many managers I’ve had that essentially want QA to be a firewall before production or some other form of waterfall . . .

I don’t think these managers/leaders need to have had lots of roles, but they need enough knowledge/experience to understand when to call BS when someone is blowing smoke . . . I think the best PM I ever had didn’t have a technical background, but she was very much able to parse the high level conversation about design decisions or any compromises we might need to make, and was a huge asset to the team due to her industry (fintech) knowledge.

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To date. I’ve only once worked with a “PO” who had any engineering experience.

I contracted at a place once, where they had a very technical product, and they had a “proxy-PO” role where the PO was very much technical and talked to the customers. Every single engineering query came back inside of a day or for bigger ones inside of the sprint scope. It was the most awesome place to work. We put PO’s outside of the agile process far too often and then wonder why product takes so long to ship.

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