Quote from The Professional Product Owner Book

One important thing when creating a customer-oriented organization or even a product organisation is facilitating an understanding of how to make product decisions for everyone in the company.

The Product Managers should explain how they arrived at a decision when they communicate with the development teams what feature to create.

This communication should include at least:

  1. What is the data used to decide?
  2. How was the data acquired?
  3. Who is the target group that is mainly using the new feature?
  4. What were assumptions about the target group made while deciding what features should be done?
  5. What were the features they said NO, and what trade-offs were made when choosing what to do and what not to do?

I would add to this list one more:

“What data/information/logic would you need to make you change your mind?”

This approach is a data-driven one, and it is the one that facilitates the best cooperation in the organization.

It could also be that a Product Manager takes a decision based on a vision of the future, based on a “feeling” of the future, not only based on data. In this case, communicate what the vision of the future is and what makes it probable.

I know that some Product Managers are maybe afraid to talk with their teams about why they decided to say yes to a feature. They might be afraid that the team will not embrace the feature or, worse, debate the decision, which might seem like a time lost.

Hiding these things will either:

(a) Make the team more dependable on the Product Manager, and every time they have a lack of understanding, they will stop and ask guidance, creating a delayed delivery.


(b) Support a mindset of no questions asked, which then creates a culture with low creativity and innovation as the development teams are far away from the end-user and their needs. So they cannot generate useful ideas for the business.

One cannot be a customer-oriented organization if only a few people understand the customers. I think it is very important for Product Managers to present a narrative from the point of view of the customer for each product decision.