Enabling Fast Decisions
The best hack for making good decisions fast is not needing to take them at all
Empower to be Empowered
In Make Yourself Redundant I explained why as a product manager you want to heavily rely on your team to make daily decisions in order to help you focus on the long-term strategy.
I explained why it is good to have an empowered team that does not need to be told what to do and how it empowers you as a product manager to be more strategic.
This time I want to focus entirely on the decision process.
In today's ever-changing world taking the right decisions fast can make or break a product. From the moment I enter a new product leadership role, I constantly work to create a culture that enables decisions instead of a culture that requires me to make the decisions and become the bottleneck.
This is, of course, a never-ending job, but one that is very rewarding. It starts with defining values and product principles. It continues with defining proper strategy and working on a goal and problem-driven roadmap together with the entire team and ends with a willingness to accept decision mistakes from the entire team, as long as they are willing to put the time to fix them.
It means that my entire focus is on guiding the entire team on how to make decisions and what considerations to take instead of making the decisions myself.
It means that whenever someone approaches me for a decision, instead of making the decision by myself, I spend the time working together with them all the “whys” so we can make the decision together and they learn the process for next time.
Once I manage to build such a culture I do not need to be “too productive” in my daily work. I can start focusing on finding new problems and dreaming about the future of my product.
Lately, my belief was challenged. For more than a year, I was subtly pushing a future direction at work by mentioning in various opportunities that this a direction we should take in the future, even if we are not ready for it yet.
Suddenly in a meeting, one of the lead developers was suggesting this exact direction as a solution for a problem we had. The day after I was told by someone else what a great idea this lead developer had.
My initial “ego-driven” internal reaction was to get annoyed. This was my idea and now someone else gets the credit. But taking a deep breath allowed me to look at it from a wider perspective and understand that I have done my job perfectly. Because now that the development team owns the idea they will even implement it better.
As young product managers, we usually want to make decisions. It feels powerful, it massages your ego, and you feel you made a difference. As we grow and mature we start to understand that it is never about who makes the decision.
A good product is built from good decisions, which means it is always about what is decided and not who decides. And if this is the case, we need to make sure that we create an environment that regardless of who takes the decision, a good decision is taken because everyone knows the right questions to ask.
Dream Big and Empower