Two Good Articles on Decision-Making For Product Managers

by nils  - October 2, 2013

The first is by the terrific Theresa Torres (@ttorres) on her Product Talk blog, on how to commit but not overcommit to a new idea, feature, or strategy – Don’t Overcommit to a Bad Idea:

Whether you are considering a new feature, experimenting with a new user acquisition strategy, or considering a shift in your overall strategy, tripwires can ensure that you don’t commit too soon.

The second article is by the equally terrific Jim Anderson (@drjimanderson) on his Accidental Product Manager blog on why product managers should not listen to their gut on many decisions:

One of the biggest problems that product managers run into when it comes time for them to make a decision is that they then tend to “narrow frame” the decision by considering only one option. The question that they are now trying to answer is “should I choose this one” instead of “from these options, which one should I choose?”

Both of these suggestions echo the excellent decision-making guidelines laid out by the Chip and Dan Heath in one of my favorite books of 2013, Decisive. Bottom line – you can make much better decisions if you follow the guidelines that Theresa, Jim, and the brothers Heath suggest.


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Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

  • Those sound like fun exercises. Were they research studies, or team-building exercises? They sound like the latter, especially since your impression is that they were designed to teach participants a lesson, rather than as neutral experiments to learn how people behave or what the outcomes of different behaviors are.
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    • I think you might have intended to comment on a different article. I think the goal of most of these exercises, however, are to learn lessons that we can apply in our day-to-day decision making as product managers.

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