I worked at a handful of technology startups over the last decade. During that time, I saw that most inefficiencies happen for the same 3 reasons. The 3 D's. Disagreements, distractions, and delays. Here is how they manifest themselves and how to put your team back to work.
I wrote about the what (What is Product Management?) and the how (How to Manage Product) of product management. This is the why. Why you should care and what happens if you don't.
“Why are we even working on this?”
The reason employees disagree is rarely that they have incompatible opinions. It is because they don't share the same understanding of the business objectives. How could they when so many companies don't even have a common strategy? Or they have too many of them scattered around Google sheets, Notion pages, and Powerpoint decks.
By having one clear strategy shared among your team, you get buy-in that lasts.
“Why can't we do it this one time?”
The weaker your strategy, the easier it is to lose focus. Client requests and new opportunities come up all the time. That is not a bad thing. All you need is a way to understand their impact on the rest of your goals.
Only by visualizing trade-offs can you respond to change with confidence.
“Is it done? How about now?”
Overcommitment is the worst offender when it comes to missed deadlines. It is easy to please a boss with unrealistic expectations. But you will lose their trust when things fall through the cracks. And when that trust goes away, micromanagers request constant status updates.
A better way is to commit to the metrics you are trying to improve instead of the features you are hoping to release. This distinction is at the core of outcome-driven roadmaps.
By measuring outcomes, you empower employees while allowing managers to track progress.
All emojis designed by OpenMoji – the open-source emoji and icon project. License: CC BY-SA 4.0