Speed vs Perfection
Speed is one of our core values. I often see people struggle with whether to do some thing fast, or to do it well. If I say you can do both, I get blank stares.
Here is how you do it.
Its that simple. Fight less battles. Cut out features. Sunset existing features that are not being used. Remove code that was once written and now 3 years later no one even know what it does.
As product managers, especially newer ones, we offset our insecurities by adding features. The logic is some thing like, if they don’t like feature A, then they may like feature B, C, D etc… This logic is fundamentally flawed. And it causes product road maps to get bloated and then developers are faced with the choice of doing a mediocre job but shipping all features. Coz if they don’t, it feels like a failure. And especially if the product fails, not having polish is equated with ‘not having all the features’. This is wrong AF and it is almost always the product managers fault.
Things that add complexity. And if you have more than one, the scale is logarithmic. People, size of project, number of users, # of devs on project etc. So here is the shocking conclusion. Bigger the company, bigger the user base, the smaller and more focused the product needs to be. Otherwise the problem gets more and more complex, and either you take a year to ship or you ship with mediocrity. Your choice.
So as a product owner, you are faced with the following, almost impossible task. From the 7 awesome features in your new cool idea, you need to remove 5. And you don’t have the data to know which ones. It almost always comes down to a gut decision. And if you get it wrong, you’ve wasted many months of dev time and hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe even millions). This is why if you get it right, you get paid the big bucks.
So my suggestion to anyone having to make these decisions is to really work on your ‘gut instinct’. Spend a lot of your time actually using your own product. Be your own customer. The deeper you dive into your own product the better this ‘instinct’ will get. Its not an over night process. It takes years. But thats the best way I know how to get there.
You need to develop a very opinionated view of your industry and your product. And then focus all your dev & design resources into singular focal point. If you get it wrong, which you often will, its okay. Learn and adjust. But please don’t spend time making feature after feature, and thinking users will like your product since now it has more features.