1. Lack of Capabilities

A lot of people getting into a product role without product experience or capabilities. Former team leads or topic experts often are just getting their position renamed. They are not fufilling many of the requirements I would set for a product owner in their daily work: like user research, breaking down work packages to make the team work in iterations., etc. They continue to lead the team or give it a direction as topic expert. I understand that this is happening in organizations, because starting to work as an organization with a product mindset means, that there are already great people working in the organization. So it is a logical thought to move them into product roles.

Solution ideas: You can (1) really invest in the learning experience. This is costly, but will bring a higher ROI). You can (2) give new product staff time to really transition. You can (3) define a clear expectations, including an exit strategy for POs not getting into the new mindset and job requirements. 

2. Mismatch of Expectations and Product Maturity 

There is often a gap between theory and reality. Reading articles and listening to talks about product ownership, they paint a subtle picture of a PO doing user research on a daily basis and with an expert level of an UX or UI Designer. In reality I see a lot of optimization happening. User research is done, but the product matures and the focus changes. Much more technical optimization, cost reduction and other efficiency metrics are getting more important. People inspired to build user focused products are getting frustrated, that the job is not fully about this. As many companies lost customer focus, they might be happy for any customer orientation brought back by an inspired PO. It really depends on the maturity of the organization in terms of product development what are the jobs a PO needs to do.

Solution ideas: Make this part of the hiring process, so that new joining POs understand from the beginning the amount of research/customer orientation compared to optimization and delivery. 


3. Technical Dependencies 

In huge organizations technical dependencies are making it hard to build one single end2end product team with an appropiate team size. It is a nice theory, but in reality, the teams end up depending on each other far too often and one team focuses only on one small aspect of a product.

Solution ideas: One way to tackle this could be to bundle several teams together with one overall PO for several teams. Team based product delivery managers (I know how this might sound) are taking care about daily ceremonies and collaboration details. Mature teams can even do it themselves.