Do Your Product Owners Speak A Foreign Language? Techniques for creating shared understanding

Effective interactions, between product owners and designers and team members who develop and make those products real, are key to team, product and organizational success. It's reflected in the first value of the Agile Manifesto.

Still, one of the chief complaints, from both the product side and the dev side, is poor communication. The list of irritants includes: lack of clarity, lack of understanding, lack of time, lack of access, too many meetings, too much jargon, too many badly written user stories and too many people involved.

Communication isn''t the only obstacle, but it’s a big one - and it can be overcome with no cost or organizational disruption.

Regardless of the role we play on the team, part of everyone’s job is to create shared understanding. In this session, Marilyn, an experienced product owner and product manager, and Sue, a communication specialist and coach, will share their research about communication gaps in the product-development relationship and approaches that can close the gap.
Join them to explore tips and ideas to improve communication flow and help teams move from concept to cash.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

This is an interactive session that will cover three main areas:

  • Frequently observed communication style differences between developers and product people·
  • Common obstacles to communication - identified via surveys of devs and product people·
  • Techniques and tools to overcome the obstacles

We’ll have a worksheet/handout·

5 min - Intro and set the scene, define challenge·
10 min - share data on obstacles to communication·
15 min - ways to overcome ·
15min - table exercise
10 min - debrief·
5 min - slack

Learning Outcome


  1. Identify the common differences in communication needs and style between development and product people
  2. Discover appropriate tools to close that communication gap.
  3. Practise some communication techniques to create mutual understanding

Target Audience

This session will be of interest to anyone who needs to communicate across functions - especially development side to business side - to reach their project and professional goals.

Prerequisites for Attendees

There is really nothing to prepare for this session, apart from bringing an open, curious mind and a willingness to try out some new skills in a safe environment.

If you can recall them, please bring some examples of times when a communication gap or misunderstanding between the product side and the development side led to confusion, delay, errors or other bad news on a project.

schedule Submitted 2 years ago