By: Dan Stewart
February 13, 2023
Gathering requirements starts with asking good questions.
Asking Good Questions
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. The next step in my process involves asking questions, lots of questions. Then finding the answers to those questions by working with designers, stakeholders, and a development team. They will ask more questions which will lead to more answers. When we run out of questions, we release the product. Then the users will ask questions which will lead to more answers.
What makes a good question?
- It asks about only one thing.
- It does not have a "yes" or "no" answer.
- It is asked using a positive statement. Then followed up by the opposite to see the other side.
- Good questions include who, what, when, where, or why.
Let me give you some examples.
- Bad: Are you able to clearly explain your product vision?
- Good: What is your product vision?
- Bad: The empathy that you have for your users. Is it from your heart or your head?
- Good: What is one thing that makes your users excited to use the product?
- Bad: How does a badly prioritized backlog negatively affect the team?
- Good: How does the team benefit from a prioritized backlog? What happens when it is not prioritized?
Here are my questions to see where I am in my journey to become a better product owner.
- What is my product vision? How will I know when I have fully embraced it?
- Who are my product's stakeholders? How can I document them, and their relationship to the product?
- When will I take the time each day to prioritize the backlog? How will I know when the backlog is prioritized enough?
- How does my product benefit the organization? Who could answer that question?
- How does my product contribute to the revenue of the organization? What are the revenue goals that my product is trying to reach?
- What processes and procedures are in place that affect my product? How is my product running in accordance with them? In what ways is my product running counter to them?
- Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime: Secrets of Calculated Questioning From a Veteran Interrogator
- Stakeholder Mapping 101: A Quick Guide to Stakeholder Maps