Everyone knows engineers deliver code, testers deliver test plans and scripts, designers deliver mockups but what do Product Managers deliver? Well, quite a few things, but a lot of that boils down to one thing: delivering decisions.
Product Managers must deliver good decisions
When a Product Manager is working on roadmap for the next year, they are essentially making decisions on what to include and what not to include. When they are facing a wall with limited engineering capacity, they again make decisions on prioritisation. While building the product, they are making important decisions about requirements, solution options, standards for product design and integration options. When unexpected issues are found hours before a release deployment, they again make a key decision — should the release be delayed or this be communicated to the users as a known issue.
Decision making sits in the front row of the daily routine of Product Managers and therefore, it is essential that they obtain the ability to make well-informed decisions at an acceptable speed.
Here are a few things Product Managers can consider when making these decisions:
- data-driven decisions — do you have access to objective data? If yes, make use of that, if not see how you can get that for the near future to enable better decisions.
- Customer is NOT the king — sure, you should listen to the customers and the SMEs but none of them have the knowledge of Product Development. You do and should trust your instincts and skills to make the right decisions even if they are not popular in the short term.
- Smaller groups, faster decisions — avoid the temptation to get consensus from a huge group. This will slow you down and there will be no consensus. Again, trust your Product skills, refer to small group and use their feedback to influence you towards the right decision.
- Mistakes are okay, delays are not — Don’t keep waiting for that perfect decision. Mistakes are part of the game. Once you have the right information, make a call and move on. If you make a mistake, learn from it for the next time but don’t delay decisions for too long.
- Evaluate investment into decisions — since you are going to make a lot of decisions, develop your framework of evaluating the importance of a decision and let that guide you how much time you need to invest into it, how much information you need to gather, what elapsed time you need to look into etc. All decisions are not equal.