Product Manager: decision rules you need to know

Being responsible for making decisions is one of the main tasks that every product manager needs to know. This ability is fundamental for the development team to execute the project in an assertive and agile way, increasing productivity. So that decisions about what to do in a product, what are the priorities and how to develop are made quickly, there are some decision rules that can be adopted in your development team.

Because of this, we produce an article that details what they are and how to do it effectively. Check it out below.

Take votes

One of the most used techniques among development teams in the decision phase is to hold votes to define what to do. The majority vote means that more than half of the people who must decide agree with the solution or idea proposed, increasing the simplicity and agility in decision making. However, this can create a situation that can leave the “losing” minority frustrated and unwilling to support the decision.

Because of this, it is recommended that this technique be carried out only for minor changes since, in this case, using consent or defining after constructive discussions ensures that they are the most effective paths.

Define by unanimity

One of the most important rules that deliver the most results if it can be used is to decide on a product unanimously among the professionals involved. This means that the project idea has been accepted by all, creating a strong adhesion and increasing productivity and creativity, since the entire technology team will be moving in a single direction of development.

Besides, this is an interesting way to decide for something that the risk is quite high. However, one of the disadvantages is that, depending on the number of professionals present in your team, reaching unanimity can be a long and time consuming process, since it requires the development of a mutual understanding and the evaluation of competing ideas. Within the discussion process, you as a product manager may have to schedule a series of meetings with your technology team in order to discuss ideas and reach a unanimous conclusion.

By consent

Another rule that every product manager can implement is the decision by consent of his team about the structure of some project. This type of decision is made when there are no objections and no professional disapproves of what needs to be done.

Deciding by consent requires that a proposal be formed through a debate among the professionals involved and that there be a common understanding among all. If there are any objections, listen to the points of view and ask why people oppose the idea. It is also ideal that new proposals be presented by these professionals so that the whole team can adapt the project structure in order to speed up the decision making process and that they no longer have significant objections.

The application of this decision rule is beneficial when the product manager does not have time to decide unanimously or when a solution is good enough for the project’s progress. This decision technique is also a great way to understand if your technology team – besides the interested parties – agrees or not with what was proposed. However, the main disadvantage is that it doesn’t give you the same degree of adherence as unanimity, since not disputing something doesn’t mean that there is support

In addition, be careful not to hinder the process by pressuring professionals to agree to the proposal. For consent to work, everyone involved in the decision-making process must agree to the proposal.

Decide after constructive discussions

Another widely used, and one of the most important, is to define what needs to be done after a discussion with the professionals involved in the project structure. After hearing all the points, it is possible that the product manager builds a more assertive decision and tries to please everyone. A very practical example is to define with the team how to develop the backlog of a product, asking the opinion of stakeholders and the development team, defining priorities and what should not be done.

This kind of choice has benefits. The main thing is that it provides the involvement of several people in decision making, although you still keep control of the situation. It can also speed up the process, limiting the time spent looking for a decision that pleases everyone.

However, the disadvantage of the rule is that people may not support your decision – or may even be frustrated if their suggestions are not accepted. Also, if the final decision is wrong, professionals may end up considering that the mistake was only the product manager’s, since the final definition was his.

This kind of rule also requires you to have the authority to make the decision and to play the role of leader. This way, you can apply this method to involve the development team and the interested parties, seeking to benefit from their knowledge or even make them feel valued.

Delegate functions

Since these are some more technical aspects, in most projects the development team is expected to know much more about the best ways to execute a project. Because of this, in case the product manager feels that he doesn’t have so much confidence to give an opinion about a certain subject, it is important to lead for some more specific professional in the area.

This delegation helps to ensure that the most qualified people decide and release their time, since you won’t need to spend extra time making decisions. Moreover, when done correctly, this attitude shows your professionals that you trust them and value their technical knowledge.

However, it is worth remembering that this should not be done to take responsibility for difficult decisions. Also, do not get involved in trying to influence the people in charge to make a decision. If you need to get involved, don’t delegate this power of decision to others.


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