Nine unconventional truths that changed the way I think about product management:
Dates do matter
Thinking products are done when they’re done is naive.
Few PMs have the luxury of building what they want when they want—there will always be external pressures that mean you have to execute on a timeline.
Data doesn’t need to inform everything
Very few decisions are irreversible.
Data-informed decision-making is necessary, but don’t use a lack of data as an excuse not to move forward.
Make the best decision you can with the information you have to hand.
Speed isn’t that important
You don’t need to move fast and break things.
Moving too fast will slow you down in the long-run when you need to come back and fix things.
Find the right tempo for your market, your product and your customers instead.
Customers don’t know what they want
If you build what your customers tell you they need, you’ll end up with a Frankenstein product no-one uses.
Dig into the problems your customers are struggling with, not the solutions they think they want.
Failure is inevitable
Most of your product ideas will fail.
Even the most successful product teams get it wrong 50% of the time—you need to learn to embrace your losses if you ever want to have any wins.
PMs shouldn’t write user stories
User stories are NOT product requirements.
They’re signposts to the ways your product might solve your customer’s problem. You need to discover them as a team, not throw them over the wall to engineering.
You don’t need frameworks for everything
What worked in someone else’s situation isn’t guaranteed to work in yours.
Frameworks can help guide your process, but don’t use them as a crutch—you need to do what’s right for your team, your product and your customers.
Sometimes the HiPPO is right
Just because an idea originated with your C-suite it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
There’s a dangerous tendency to dismiss executives’ opinions because they’re not “product people.” In reality, though, their ideas have as much value as anyone’s.
Your product isn’t as important as you think it is
Your product plays a tiny role in your customer’s life.
The problem you’re solving is probably one of 100s they regularly need to deal with. Don’t get frustrated if they don’t care about it as much as you want them to.