Alright! Continuing with our series of blogs where we cover the AMAs we hold over on our Slack channel. In case you missed it we regularly host Product Managers and talk about everything #product.
We are excited to have hosted Ankur Sharma, Vice President of Product and Engineering, Perkbox as our guest. He shared his learnings and knowledge around - How to think fast and grow as a Product Manager using Mental Models.
Here are some key takeaways:
Following are my favourite ones:
I use the below mental models to remove the cognitive load on a daily basis:
The frameworks I use, changes on a Day on Day basis. However, one thing which I always try to optimise is Decision making. I on a daily basis use mental models, which alleviate the cognitive load of decision making, like mentioned in the above answer.
In the past year, I believe the biggest shift came from the new Mental Model which I developed after I moved from Bangalore to London. I realised how East is a low trust society vs West which is a high trust society and I need to optimise my decision making and way of working for develop higher level of trust and transparency at scale, which you could live with in East.
My Favourite one as a problem use case to cite is "Build vs Buy". As PMs, we always face this conundrum. My Mental Model on Build vs Buy has evolved over the period of time. Now what I look for is that if, "Buy" is allowing me to have:
Then I should buy. And it practically only applies to the non-core business
There could be other things to consider also, like costs, expertise, resourcing but at the end of the day this mental model helps answer major question which is can i focus on my core product, my GTM is faster and solution is not rigid and rather prod ready and scalable.
Writing! I use writing not as a communication medium but as a thinking medium. I write all the time.
I use an exercise called Morning Pages (has arrived from a book called The Artist's Way) which helps me think clearer over the day
I use Island and Bridges writing strategy to make sure I think more from the first principles than tactically to start with.
The best technique which I have deployed to remove the mental block is to force myself to speak slowly. When that happens, I have more time to think and that in turns trigger the conscious to not jump on the first thought which comes to my mind
Secondly, over the period of time, I have learnt how to ask effective questions which buys me more time to think. Mental Models to ask Effective questions are:
If I have to take cue from my career (and I have done enough mistakes), I will say, they should learn:
I use my context switching problem by following 5 minute rule - If something takes 5 minutes, don’t procrastinate it, do it right away. This takes care of 90% of context switching over the day. For rest 10%, make sure you write what's on your mind.
I use decision matrix to drive decisions. I separate decisions into four possibilities based on the type of decision I make:
I delegate all the inconsequential decisions (be it reversible or irreversible).
Consequential and irreversible decisions are the ones that I really need to focus on.
The key to understand decision making is that perhaps only 3-5% of your decisions will ever be irreversible.
It all depends on how desperate you are to break into SaaS or B2C :)
If you already know how to think about the products from first principles, then here what I will suggest:
This takes time to bed into the head. Initially it is like learning a new language. As I said before in one of the other question, I learnt to do it by teaching myself to speak slowly, which helps me going through the rolodex of mental models in my mind. As time goes by, it starts coming back to you associatively. One thing helped me a lot was doing this course. The instructor also has a book with the same name, if you don't like MOOCs (edited)
Initially. it is going to be a lot of hit and trial. They key is to live through the process and reflect on the mental model applied and decisions taken.
Want to join the next conversation? We’ll be having another Product Chat soon, get your invite to our Slack community to get all the details. See you inside.
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