Making decisions in the realm of product development is no small feat. It’s akin to navigating the rugged Scottish Highlands; the path might start simple, but as you delve deeper, the terrain becomes more complex, demanding a keen sense of direction and adaptability.
In the early stages of a project, gathering as much information as possible is essential. This includes understanding the business’s direction, stakeholders’ desires, customer feedback, and the team’s perspective. All these factors converge, much like tributaries feeding into a mighty river, guiding the product owner’s decision.
However, it’s not just about gathering data. It’s about interpreting it, understanding the nuances, and making informed decisions. For instance, the sunk cost fallacy can be a treacherous pitfall. Just because significant resources have been invested in a project doesn’t mean it’s the right path to continue. I recall a time with a UK bank, Intelligent Finance, where an XML-based form system, despite its significant investment, proved to be more of a hindrance than a help.
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Another illustrative example is the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft. Satya Nadella, upon becoming CEO, faced the daunting decision of whether to continue with the Nokia venture or cut losses. Despite the substantial investment, the decision was made to abandon the project. Such decisions, while challenging, are sometimes necessary for the organisation’s greater good.
As a product owner, the weight of these decisions rests on your shoulders. It’s a role that demands courage, intuition, and the ability to make calls even when the full picture isn’t clear. It’s about understanding probabilities, trusting your gut, and being prepared to change course when necessary.
In conclusion, whether you’re deciding to pivot or stay the course, it’s crucial to be informed, intuitive, and brave. And remember, sometimes the bravest decision is to recognise when it’s time to change direction.
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