The process of bringing ideas to life in a product is messy and difficult. As product managers we are constantly balancing time and money constraints, strong and often differing opinions, and unpredictable customers. So how do you move an idea forward amidst all this chaos? Megan Folsom presents us with a unique approach, her own personal trifecta, to influencing and motivating others when the going gets tough.
There are plenty of best practices regarding methods of product delivery; three of which include lean start-up, user-centered design, and agile. Lean start-up appeals to our logical side as we validate hypotheses through heavy use of data. User-centered design appeals to our emotional side as we aim to provide our customers with what they most desire. Agile appeals to our need for human connection and understanding as we collaborate around mutual needs. But when we rely on just one one of these approaches when working with others, the result can often fall short, as we only address a single facet of a human being’s complex thought process.
Logic, Emotion, and Collaboration
Megan provides several examples where utilizing just one methodology has had interesting consequences, including an insurance company who shortened their policy application process in an effort to provide a better user-centered solution. They expected this change to please their customers, when in fact customers mistrusted the streamlined process and doubted the validity of the policy for which they were applying. The result, decreased conversion! Through this and her other examples, Megan drives home the point that relying on any one product development methodology is bound to leave us hanging; it’s best to have a multi-faceted approach. Especially in cases where progress stagnates, check the methodologies you didn’t use and you’ll often find something to influence and motivate those around you into the right course of action.
So how do we accomplish a “trifecta” approach in practice? We gather evidence, but stay aware of our own assumptions. We interact with those around us as people, rather than titles, practicing radical listening (great one to google when you’ve got some spare time). We set priorities based on mutual values and make ourselves accessible to the people who really need us. Accomplish these things and you’re bound to improve your influence and motivational factor.
But at the end of the day, figure out what excites you. Nothing motivates others better than working with someone who really believes in what they’re doing.