New product owner colleague has a question like every hour, walks right over without considering that I am coding or if my headset is on for obviou reasons.

The questions are not even programming related and more to do with him updating story acceptance criterias for like the next freaking 5 sprints. These are stuff that could take hours to explain what the planned features are to begin with let alone discussing individual stories. I've actually taken my time and spent hrs explaining this shit to him now. Won't take any notes, jus shakes his head and says he understands and comes back asking same question again and again. Best part, he never gets to the point. Instead of asking 'hey for xyz feature do we need that component' he goes on to tell me he talked to this person and that person and he found this out and that out bla bla(like I give a fk..) and then somewhat formulates the question which I swear takes like 10 mins.

Lost count on hw many times he has interrupted me now when I am deep into some debug cos he needed to tell me about how his day went for some reason.

It's one thing to train a new developer but a product owner.. For fk sake. Trying to not be offensive but damn he is pushing it.

  • 2
    Tell him that he risks delaying development if he keeps doing that. He should care, as he's the product owner.
  • 0
    If he doesn't care, he can at least not blame you, because you have your warning as evidence of it not being your fault.
  • 0
    You got one of those, can I suggest you raise this with your manager before you make Krakatoa and Vesuvius seem like cheap fireworks. They should take care of this if they're worth their salt.
  • 0
    @ymas only concern is bringing this up to program manager, ending up in awkward situation having to still work with this PO after that.
  • 0
    @filthyranter caught in the dilemma of not wanting to look like the guy that's not helpful.
  • 2
    @keshk if you miss your deadlines it's going to be more awkward. There might not be a "next time" if your company is pinning their hopes on your project. The PO is an adult, they'll deal with it. If they can't, they're not going to be PO for very long.
  • 2
    > or if my headset is on for obviou reasons
    It's not that obvious to everyone.

    I've been there and specifically asked what "headphones on" communicates. Half of the people get it ("do not disturb"), the other half don't ("just listening to music"). I mean for fucks sake, I deliberately ignored some people standing next to me when I had headphones on, and one had the nerve to grab my chair and shake it a little. Which is super rude and I had to constrain myself to not punch that person in the stomach.

    So... you can't rely on people getting the hint and need to be more clear. There's some high-tech solutions (sort of "traffic lights"). A simple solution that worked for me was making a "stop, busy" sign from cardboard and putting that up whenever I didn't want to be disturbed.

    Yeah, that raised some eyebrows at first. But it was effective.
  • 1
    Can you not just say, "I'm really busy right now, send me the question in an email and I'll reply later"?
  • 1
    @Robinha you can, but your concentration is already broken then. It's like depicted in this comic strip: https://heeris.id.au/2013/...
  • 1
    I've been on both sides of this fence.

    As the one being asked questions and also supposedly working, there's some truth to that comic VaderNT linked. Being disturbed can really derail a train of thought.

    On the other hand, if you're new and do not get a proper mentor (or your mentor puts his headphones on) it can be a really painful experience being left alone with nobody to ask about basic stuff you're supposed to learn after all. You're left with the options either jury-rigging something together to the best of your hardly existing knowledge (chances are nobody will be happy with that stuff in the long run, not even yourself) or disturbing a guy with headphones on.

    Imo, everyone new should be assigned a mentor whose main priority during the mentoring phase is mentoring, and thus OF COURSE he can be disturbed and his work can and will suffer because of it.
Add Comment