Asking the right questions to get to the true needs and wants of the client

Product Owner
Lynn Slooten
Publication Date
15 October 2021

Asking the right questions to get to the true needs and wants of the client

Through her love for horse riding, Lynn found her way to Mobiquity where she has been working now for over six years. Starting out as QA Engineer, now a Product Owner, she shares with us an insight into her role, and the importance of creating a good set of requirements in order to ensure a successful end product.

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Lynn Slooten: I’m Lynn. I am Dutch and 32 years old. I live in Heiloo, which is near Alkmaar. I love horses and am big into horse riding. I have a lease horse that I ride usually five days a week. It is definitely a time consuming hobby as it takes around three hours each time, but I enjoy it a lot. As I live near the beach sometimes I will take my horse for a ride along the dunes which is also fun. I also like to meet up with friends and family when I have the chance and enjoy going skiing during the winter.


Finding my place in a digital world

I studied Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology, and went on to do a Masters in Design for Interaction. The focus was on how people interact and perceive products, mainly from a tangible perspective. Near the time of my graduation, one of the ladies who was in my weekly horse riding lessons, a UX Designer, asked if I would like to help her and her team test an application they were working on. I thought the area of digital would be a good field to get into, so I did the three weeks testing job to learn more about working in a digital environment. I liked it and ended up working there for four months. For the applications we were building, a Mobiquity team was also involved in the project, and one day a week I would visit the Mobiquity office. They had a great team and I enjoyed working with them. After a while they offered me a job and I decided to take it. I joined first as a QA. We did have some discussion about me possibly joining the design team based on my studies, but in the end it didn’t feel like the right fit for me as I enjoy the more technical side. Becoming a Product Owner (PO), was the next logical step for me and that is what I am currently working as today.

Aligning each element of a project to the desired vision

My role as a PO can vary in terms of tasks and scope depending on each specific project and client. My main objective is to control and prioritise the backlog and maintain progression of the project. As my role is quite close to that of a Business Analyst (BA), it can happen that sometimes I cross over into that area. The main difference between a PO and BA, is that a BA is more tied to the actual request from the client. I work on gathering the data needed in order to commence product development and creation. I meet with the client to discuss their needs, what they would like the product to look like, and what kind of functionalities are required. I work with the designers to create the overview for the UI design. I also spend quite a lot of time working with the architects to envision the technical design structure of the product, making sure at all times that each element of the project stays aligned to the vision. When all of this comes together, I incorporate it into a user story so both the development team and the client have a clear overview, describing what needs to be built and how the technology should be implemented. 


Challenging projects enabling great learning experiences

One of the projects I worked on with Mobiquity was Philips. We would travel down to Eindhoven to their offices which are located in the high tech campus. It was exciting to be working in that environment. As it was quite a commute I ended up moving there for seven months. We worked on many cool projects. We developed a common component that would enable the consumer to connect to their connected devices, for example speakers. We also created an application for their sonic toothbrush that has a bluetooth connection. And we built on the healthy sleep solution for their sleep headband application which also connected to their wake up lights systems.

Another interesting project I worked on was Surepay. I was still quite junior at the time and this was one of the first projects I worked on as the primary PO. It was a very technically challenging project as we were tasked with making online payments safer and building a solution to detect misdirected payments and potential bank transaction fraud in real-time. Although it was quite complex and a steep learning curve for me, I had a great senior team around me, and together we helped each other to do our best work and create a successful product. As it was a long term project, the scope of my role extended to people and stakeholder management, which was new for me but also a nice one as I had an opportunity to further grow my skill set.

A great place to work

What do I like about my role? I enjoy the combination of people management and technical skills. It turned out that I enjoyed the technical element more than I expected or thought I would have, even though I had completed an engineering course. I also really like Mobiquity and the people around me. It really is a great place to work. I love that everybody is always happy. I have never had a situation where another colleague wasn’t willing to help out. There is a lot of hard work being done, but also a lot of laughing. Of course it has been a little difficult this past year, not being able to get together in the office and I do at times miss that buzz and energy you feel when everyone is hard at work, but we have still been able to have some fun activities online which is important to keep everyone connected.


Good requirements make for a successful end product

As a PO you are responsible for talking to the clients and making sure the right things are worked on at the correct time. Having good requirements throughout the project is essential to deliver an end result that is fit for the clients needs. It’s important that the technical aspects are completed in a way which aligns to clear requirements, to ensure a solid end product. It will reduce future costs and time with fixing bugs, or having to redo work at a later stage. One of the most valuable things a PO does is to ask the client the right questions, and more importantly to ask the client why they want a certain feature or why they made a certain decision. This in turn really helps the entire team to get a greater understanding of the true needs and wants, which ultimately helps in building a successful product that solves the initial problem.

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