Prof-like Substance suggests that grant applicants speak with their program officers, yes, but also with other POs.
"Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to interact with roughly 10 [to] 15 different POs in a few different roles," Prof-like says at his blog. "Early in my career I assumed that POs shared similar agendas or at least had [a] script they were supposed to follow, but reality is very different. Whereas there are obviously certain commonalities, it is far more similar to an academic department with all its personalities and perspectives."
As such, speaking with several POs can provide an idea of who is interested in supporting certain projects, Prof-like says. "If you can find a PO who is excited about the work you are proposing, you are much better off than working with a PO indifferent to what you are trying to accomplish," he adds.