Don’t try to kill a cockroach with a cannon or a bear with a water pistol.
Common sense is not so common.Voltaire, 1764
Recently I was reading a great post by Martin Eriksson about the #1 Answer in Product: It depends. I love that post not only for being a wonderful summary of previous thoughts I had but for its simplicity.
And I think this topic is not only connected to Product Management, but to many aspects or processes on any company. From applying an A/B test to developing a new software architectural pattern or any other decision.
There are many models, structures, systems, frameworks with several pros as many disadvantages. All of them. Deciding for one of them, well, it depends.
Many times I have found professionals struggling to impose a point of view because “this is the best practice in the market and there is no other option better than what I’m saying”. Again, maybe it could be the Holy Grail of engineering but if it does not fit at that moment in the team you are working on, for any reason, there is nothing to do.
It is like moving the population of Tokyo to live in Sicily in 3 months. It just doesn’t fit.
Before making any decisions about adopting a new technology, or applying new designs there are several steps to be done before even kicking them off.
I would like to mention some of the debates where most of us were (are) included in the last years.
Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall, …
There are many reasons to adopt any of them . But the first we should do is to analyze deeply the reasons why are we implementing any of them. Right now there are many people charging agains Scrum, others charged against Kanban. Some others made the same with Waterfall. Well, it always depend.
The first you can do it is understand the problem you want to solve. There are some types of problems that scrum is very good at solving. There are other problems that scrum can not help you with.
It does not matter how hard you want to do it or how passionate you are. If you are not able to identify the problem you are trying to solve with their implementation, it will fail. Or your implementation will evolve suddenly to the approach that better solves your main problem.
I just found quite disturbing that around 80% of the articles that I find about product management, design, growth, user insights are about which tool to use for A/B Test, for Growth Hack, for Project Management, etc.
It is really important to get knowledge about tools. You are probably using some of them. But it is also probably that you are shooting a cockroach with a cannon. Or the other way around: shooting a bear with a water pistol.
Only having knowledges about the tools makes you a technicist not a thinker. The use of any tool must be deeply thought before settling them. You would need to analyze which root problem are you trying to solve, the context where you want to implement that tool, learning curve in order to use it properly, etc.
Recently I was making a research about organizational structures and the answer is always the same: it depends. The models that are working for massive and distributed companies most of the time are not fitting for small -to-medium companies.
I’ve proposed a generic solution that could evolve able to tackle different organizational issues. But as always it needs to be applied depending on the company that you want to apply it to.
In order to always think before implementing any methodology, framework or tool it is important to adopt the mindset that enables you to ponder why do you want to implement anything.
As human beings most of the time we just make a formal consensus to evaluate a tool or a model but we are not totally sure /why/ are we making the decision to move in that direction. You just got attracted. And that is the first fail.
There are many questions to answer before acting. Do you think does it fit to your company vision and mission? With your OKRs? With your strategy? Will that implementation slow down the speed of your team? Do you think your idea can have a positive impact? Don’t you think are better ways to do this? The list of questions is huge.
The funniest part of all this is that there are many of us arguing constantly everywhere about different approaches, tactics, etc. instead of thinking if that solves any problem. Arguing will make you lose time to think better and evaluate what is better for you to adopt or not.
When you answered all your questions, then you can proceed to think how to implement this tool and other details. But you should not start executing before thinking.
If you wonder why you should be thinking instead acting, well, it depends.