Of course it is very easy to say yes, Sir to your Manager, boss or Director. However, if you are a Product Owner and work in Agile environment you must learn to say NO and other times No Now.
Because if you as Product Owner miss the focus of your product only to satisfy to your boss you will fail as Product Owner. The Product Owner has to be honest with their stakeholders including his boss.
I had the bad experience to work with a Product Owner (I called him Y) that can say No never even to his wife (really). So one day another Product Owner let’s call H say to Y, can you help with some user stories in the next Sprint because I have to fix so many bugs and my team is overloaded? Y responded sure, why not?. H was in vacation for two weeks and when H returned asked her Scrum Master how was the last Sprint. Scrum Master said that it wasn’t good because the other Scrum team that was supposed to fix several bugs didn’t do anything.
What was the outcome of the overcommitment?
As an Agile Coach I have to talk with a manager and suggested him to talk with the Product Owner Y to empower him to learn to say No when it is impossible to do something.
In addition, I talked with Y about his lack of confidence to say No. It was very sad to me (even worse for him to admit his personal issue) to listen from him that he has known for a long time that he couldn’t day no even for small things. For instance, his wife asked him to accompany her to the doctor during the office time that he had an important meeting and he always said Yes!!
Last but not least, I strongly recommended him to talk with one of his friends and have an open and honest discussion about how he can figure it out. Unfortunately, his manager insisted to assign several projects at the same time because he knows that Y never say No. When I finished my duty on that company and I said to Y that I was leaving was the first time that I listened NO from him!!!