Want A Happier Marriage? Make Your Spouse Your Product Owner(*)!

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Meaningful Relationships
Meaningful Relationships

How many of you may have had a similar experience last time you moved? My wife and I re-located to Salt Lake City, Utah in June of 2013. We love our new house, but we initially we had an issue. The windows had no treatments on them. From a man’s perspective it didn’t bother me, in fact I liked all the light coming in. My wife on the other hand was not happy, she wanted her privacy, especially at night.

I eventually caved and decided that her happiness was more important than the extra light. We went down to the local Home Depot and looked at window treatments. My wife decided that she

Personal Agility - Level 1 Practice
Personal Agility – Level 1 Practice

wanted real-wood shutters and so we got a quote. Wow, shutters are really expensive!!! It was going to cost as much as small car to get shutters for all of our windows. Time to stall again I thought… how long could we wait before her unhappiness started affect our marriage? It wasn’t long before I started to notice that she wasn’t happy and I had to take action.

At this point, several things stood out:

  • My wife wanted window treatments and I didn’t care
  • The window treatments that my wife wanted were very expensive and we couldn’t afford them all at one time
  • My life was going to be miserable if I didn’t act soon

So, what did I do? The only thing that I could do… I made my wife my product owner. Here is what specifically happened:

Prioritizing The Shutters
Prioritizing The Shutters
  • My wife and I decided on our budget. How much could we afford to spend on our initial shutters purchase
  • I went around to every window and placed a sticker on them with the price of the shutters for that window
  • My wife went around and assigned business value to each window, by putting a 1 (must have), 2 (should have), or 3 (could have) on each window
  • We added up the prices of all the windows with a 1 on them and found that they were within our budget
  • We placed our initial shutters order, had them installed, and I kept my wife and my sanity!!!

Why did this work?

  • At first my wife was getting frustrated because she didn’t have control of the situation, by making her the Product Owner she now could do something to have influence over what was going on
  • Having the price listed on each window allowed my wife to do a cost vs. benefit analysis, some of the more expensive windows were downgraded to a priority 2 or 3
  • By prioritizing the windows that we were going to get shutters first for we were able to stay within our budget and not go into debt
  • By giving into to my wife, I saved our marriage
New Shutters
New Shutters

If you find yourself in a similar situation; looking for a new home, re-modelling your existing home, buying a car, planning a vacation, the possibilities are endless – then consider making your spouse your product owner. You might just improve your relationship, make both of you happy, and keep your sanity in the process!

Let us know about how you made your spouse your product owner in the comments section below!

(*) What is a Product Owner? – The Product Owner is one of the three roles on a Scrum Team. Most notably the Product Owner serves as the liaison between the Team and the Stakeholders. To the Team, the Product Owner is the voice of the Stakeholders, representing their needs, wants, and desires for the Product.