Product Anon Coffee – Oct 31st

At our last meeting, you told us you wanted #prodgmt than just once a month!!  Out of this conversation and other feedback we’ve had, we’re trialing a monthly coffee/lunch session.

We held our 1st coffee session on the afternoon of Oct 3rd.  It was good to see both new & familiar faces stop by (note to self: must remember to take photos!!).  The concept of being able to pop in for a few minutes or have a leisurely coffee seems to be a winner.

We’ll be mixing it up with different times (& maybe get crazy with a different day!) so keep that feedback coming!    On the 31st,  our coffee session will be more of a lunch time affair.    We’re hoping for some good weather so we can all meet in a park but let’s see closer to the date.   Venue suggestions are welcome!!

Our next Product Anon coffee will be Thursday Oct 31st, 12:30-1:30.   Subscribe to our google calendar / Twitter / Linkedin for updates.

Eventbrite - Product Anonymous Coffee - October 31

October 24th Meet up – Digesting the IDEO + Acumen HCD course

IDEO and Acumen offered the chanced to do an online course on IDEO’s human centred design process.  All you needed was a bit of time and at least one other person to sign-up with.  I gathered a group of fellow product managers and Product Anon attendees and we signed up to give it a go and learn more about this leading process for innovation.  They will join me for the session to share from their point of view as well.  

This month’s session will be on how we found the course, what we learnt, how we will try and fit it back into our Product management worlds, and how we will keep our minds open. If you took the IDEO/Acument course, please come along and share your experiences.

The usual location – Mail Exchange Hotel on the corner or Bourke St and Spencer st.  This is the last topic event before we have our end of year Product Bash. Sign up here.

Eventbrite - Product Anonymous - October 24 - Digesting the IDEO + Acumen HCD course

October is Bring a Buddy month!!! Do you have a friend, co-worker or colleague from a previous job who you think might be interested in Product Anonymous? Someone who has asked about the group but never comes along? We’ve heard from some people that they’d like to attend but don’t know anyone at Product Anonymous … so they don’t attend. This month, think about who you know would be interested in the group or topic and bring them along! Be a buddy!

The Art of Decision Making – Part 6: Decision time

This article continues the discussion from Product Anonymous back in June.  Full credit goes to the team and the attendees for providing key steps, insight and critical analysis.

In the last set of posts we defined the problem (topic and people), identified some alternatives, and evaluated those alternatives.  Step #4 in the process is to decide between those alternatives.

With all the evaluation you did in the last section, it should be pretty clear what the correct decision should be.

Some extra thoughts on the actual decision point.

Sometimes it is hard to make a decision.  You will need to balance the upside against the downside.  For quantitative information this may be a mathematical decision, but this is unlikely to be the only part.  Since there is always a human element there will be additional complications to resolve.

A good decision should not be a surprise to anyone. Certainly the easiest decisions are those that don’t seem like they were required.  If anyone is surprised then it is likely you haven’t done your homework in building engagement and consensus.  Everyone should understand that they had a part in the decision, that their opinions and ideas were listened to, and they all got the right background.  Everyone should see the decision as a natural evolution out of the options and the situation.

Sometimes it is easier if you decide on what you’re not doing.  Striking off alternatives that you aren’t going to do, and see what you are left with.

Will the decision stick?  The previous sections discussed the RACI analysis – if the decision is not being supported by the right person then it might not stick – and therefore it won’t be the decision that was needed.

Is the water clouded with too many issues?  Whenever there is “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt” (FUD) then it will become hard to make the decision.  Clear up any misunderstandings by going back to first principles.

What would it take for me to believe in the decision?  Are you personally convinced this is the right way to go?  Or are you going by the numbers?

Are you looking for something that is the optimal decision or just good enough?  Some people (known as maximizers) will spend a lot of energy optimising a decision, while some people (satisficers) will simply try to get by with a possible solution.  Which one are you?

How will you feel about the decision in 10 minutes, 10 months and in 10 years?  Using this tool is a good way to separate yourself from the emotional here-and-now of the decision

Is there some form of personal fear in your decision?  We all experience fear of failure and fear of getting it wrong.  This is normal.  But if this is your product, you need to be proud of your decision, regardless of your fear.

Is it fear that this is a one-way decision?  Such decisions are rare, and many can be corrected.  And if other people are part of the decision process then they will help.  Especially if you have called out assumptions, then they can recognise that change will need to be made.

If you can’t decide then maybe it doesn’t matter.  Maybe everything has an upside and a downside that can’t be compared – so every option is good and bad. In which case the option chosen doesn’t matter.  But still make a decision because you need to set a direction.

If you can’t decide, then try the ‘slightly cranky’ method.  This is the time to channel your inner cranky product manager.  Pretend you have been at this all night and you have had enough?  Now what?  Evaluate and check that it makes sense at the end though. You are effectively trusting your gut now, so look inside and work out the things you decided were most important, and use these for your reasons.

Doing the exact opposite might still be valid.  Can you flip it on its head?  This can be such a big mental shift that you will probably need to explain the reasoning to everyone again.

So we now have some well evaluated alternatives, we have though about the implications and finally it is crunch time.

You have to make a decision.

Do it.

We have a decision, but it is not over yet.  You will need to implement it, and then learn from it.  Next we’ll look at the implementation.

Have you got any other tools to help you make decisions? Please feel free to comment below to add to the discussion.

Go back to Part 5: Evaluating Alternatives

Steve is a Product Development Manager at Telstra Wholesale.  The views expressed in this post are his only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra.