Product Owner — Asking the crucial questions

Asking the important questions helps to reduce a merry-go-round trips

May you be on the path!

I was discussing an idea with a friend on her idea of increasing the growth of her business! We set up a spontaneous zoom call after a brief discussion on a chat program.

Here are what I like to share today!


Know you customer. Get to know your users / your client’s business — my friend is a business owner who has been running her business for . Physical vs digital product. Figure out one’s desire to excel, what frustrate one the most & what keeps a business owner up at night.

Relate to their ups and downs. 👂🏽 Listen, listen, listen. I highly recommend this preparation ahead of the discussion.

Prep work

I imagine doing a little preparation work before the discussion would save some clarifying time. Getting on the same page aims to reduce confusion and set the stage for better questions during the discussion.

An example of prep work that came to my mind is a set of questions ✍🏽 e.g.

What is the discussion topic?

What do you wish to learn from this discussion?

What is the idea you wish to explore during the discussion?

What do you wish to learn from testing this idea?

What trigger this idea?

What is the cost of not testing the idea?

What would it cost you to give up testing the idea?

When a user / business owner get the time to consider these questions at their own time, let one to slow down and think clearly.

Clarifying questions

Digging into the meaning the terms seems to reduce the confusion significantly. Other forms of clarifying questions can be open questions that get the Done picture painted clearly for both sides. Here are a few examples:

When you mention this, what do you mean?

When you click X, what do you expect to see on screen?

How do you use X data? For what and when?

Asking the Why

We learned well from Simon Sinek on Start with Why — this helps everyone to clearly articulate the motivation from the get-go.

Realising that you missing the Why later in the discussion is an easy mistake — have no fear, this can be a learned with a small reminder like a ✳️ post-it!

Zoom in and out

Having the presence of mind to know when to zoom in and zoom out 👁

Sometimes a user goes deeper and divert a lot. Breath and check in on what you know with one and check in where the train of thought is going. That helps both sides to confirm the known knowns.

Speak their language

“I don’t understand why you keep saying pain point…”

“Why do you keep saying hypothesis? What do you mean?”

My light bulb💡 went on when I heard these statement / question from my friend, I quickly switch track and attempt to slow down. Explaining what I mean by a certain word did clear up a lot to move on.

With the list above, it is easier to set the stage well and allow both sides to ask the important questions during the discussion 🙋🏽‍♀️

Would you have more to add on this list? Would love to hear more!



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