So as noted earlier in, Why you (might) need a good Product Owner, I expressed reservations about the Product Owner role.
It’s risky to have it all rest on one person. It could also be unfair. It could halt the delivery of value and of learning. Instead of ironing out behavioural issues that may arise from the person focused role could we consider another view.
Here’s the view from Kanban Training that I got from David Anderson.
Here the Product Owner has helped create a set of policies for selection of work. Here it is noted as Risk Management policies. This would include items like cost of delay also balanced against dependencies outside of the team. It could include risks within the team as well. For example, should we schedule work when someone is out on holiday. Maybe you’d bring that forward or realize ways to increase staff liquidity.
It’s observed that when this is done, meetings to replenish a ‘Ready To Start’ column are much quicker and less prone to argument.
Would these policies also mitigate against a PO bottleneck. It might be something worth trying in your context. It may just end up producing more value for you or rather for your customer.