The Client Product Owner Dilemma

Sometime ago when I had stomage ache I decided that I wouldn’t want to suffer any longer than necessary. This was a clearly an issue that needed to be handled in timely manner. I decided that I would skip going to a generalist doctor and went straight to surgeon armed with a black marker.

Fancy knife

Me: Hi there, I need you to appendix, it’s done for.
Doc: … what?
Me: Look, let me show you. Grab a scalpel and start here around waistline and follow this dotted line for few inches. Then reach for your clamp and get hold of the appendix and then just cut it off with the scalpel. 
Me: Look I downloaded some pictures from the internet, this is what the appendix looks like and this is a picture of how it looks after you take it off and here you see what the stitches look like after you finished the job.
Doc: … but…
Me: Oh, almost forgot, don’t bother with anestesia as I´m on a budget here and I´m pretty touch and I can take it without. 
Doc: … aaaa… ahem…
Me: So here’s the specs as user stories and the all important time estimates

  1. As doctor take out scalpel and make the cut (1min, 30 sec)
  2. As doctor spread the cut (30 sec)
  3. As doctor use clams to get hold of the appendix and Then cut it out (2 minutes)
  4. As doctor use the needle the sew the stitches (4 minutes)

Me: I´ll even allow you some 15 minutes for setup time and 5 minutes afterwards the wash your hands. I  assume surgeons get paid around 100$ and this takes less than a half an hour so let´s just round it out so I shall pay you 50$ for the operation and of course you are liable if anything goes wrong.


… And this is when the guys in white jackets walked in and escorted me to a comfortable room with padded walls.

The problem is (more like one of the problems) is that product owner is supposed to have a vision about the product and clients rarely have even a remotely good idea what the underlying problem was. They may very well not even know the solution, all they know are few symptoms.

ps. Pics courtesy of wikipedia

Posted on 04/09/2012, in Agile, Scrum. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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