This meeting smell happens when someone from the technology team asks “Do you want…”.
“Do you want the user’s session to continue after they leave the site?”
“Do you want us to optimize that for search engines?”
“Do you want auto-complete in the search box?”
These are bad questions because they don’t convey what’s really being asked: “Is this feature worth our time and effort?”.
What the business owner hears is “Should we include this sweet feature that will make you look good?”. Their answer is almost certainly yes, but they’re not answering the real question.
The real question is “How important is this feature?” This conveys the idea that the tech team wants to focus on essentials. It also reminds the business owner that not all features are created equal.
I wrote before about how stating “I want” is a good smell. The difference is that it’s OK for the business owner to declare “I want”, but not ok for someone to ask “Do you want?”. It’s leading the witness.
Every time you ask someone if they want an awesome feature the answer will be yes. The real information comes when you ask how badly they want it.