Product Owner Flavour No. 2: The Inquirer

This is the second installment of the series about flavours of a product owner.

The Inquirer asks a lot of questions.

He does so because it helps him get closer to defining the value that a user story or an epic represents. He understands that users often create their own detailed mental model of a system, which is somewhat removed from the implemented model. Both the questions he asks and the answers he gets, help him discover the users mental model, and translate that to value described in user stories and epics.

To do this, he plays the “Why?”-game.

The “Why?”-game

When a user tries to communicate what he wants by describing his mental model of the implementation, this POs most common response is asking why the user feels he needs the feature and asking for clarification on what the user hopes to achieve.

By asking, he is be able to identify the use case behind the request, and perhaps more importantly, the real value that the user is looking for.

With a clear idea of the required value, he can author user stories which focus on the desired value.

Talking to the team

He can use this to communicate with the team without having to discuss implementation.
This empowers the team to design the implementation and deliver the required value with as few constraints as possible.

During the course of development, the team naturally encounters areas which require additional business input and decisions. The Inquirer makes an effort to return the teams questions and will aim to use their very extensive knowledge and understanding to return to the core value of a given user story. Does the team feel that one or another decision will contribute to delivering the value?

Is there any chance that this PO will also deliberately end a conversation with a question?


Next week we meet The Buy-in.

April 19th, 2016 by