Product Owners navigate a precarious tightrope between human and developer logic. Wonderful ones inspire, woeful ones frustrate. They’re invariably caught in a political maelstrom, making a tough job tougher, but it’s a job that makes all the difference to team and product.
Good POs breathe curiosity. When my reaction is WTF, I see others courageously putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and exploring their world with intelligent and insightful questions:
“Would you be willing to share that experience with our development team?”
“Will you come and see what we’re working on? We really value you’re experience and ideas”
“I understand you need it all, but can you help me understand the relative value of each of your requests?”
“That’s really costly, can you help us find an alternative?”
“Can you help me understand why that’s important to you?”
“If you didn’t have to do it that way, how would you do it?”
“I’ve seen others do it this way, would that work for you?”
“What kind of things go wrong? Can we work through how we’d deal with that?”
“What would you do if the software didn’t exist?”
“How does using our software make you feel?”
Empathetic questions are software's secret sauce.