One of the things that’s really great about building something new is that you get to – I’d even argue have to – reflect a lot. You have to look critically at what was in place before you starting building. You have lay a foundation and make sure that it’s solid, shoring up anything that’s not solid or removing what’s not going to work and starting over.
Most of the time, reflection is focused on basics like capacity building, goal setting, product planning, process testing, and relationship building – including opening up clear lines of communication. Like with any building project, there are a million details to attend to. This phase of reflection is really digging critically about what’s working and what isn’t with an eye to fix anything in the “isn’t” category.
This is what’s happening in my world right now. The build has been commissioned, contractors chosen, blueprint drafted, foundation poured, and crews assembled. We’re negotiating calendars, delivery of supplies, and dependencies as we seek to build a beautiful product that will delight our partners.
Then, as often happens when opening up to reflection, a thought popped into my head and would not let go.
In my case, this question is about my children. More specifically, would I enroll my child in a school using the products I am responsible for stewarding? And, for me, the answer is, “Yes, she is currently enrolled.” Make no mistake, though, I learned a LOT while making this decision for my child.
What strikes me about this question is the power found by the act of being intellectually honest and curious about the answer
Would you pay for your product? Are you confident enough in the work being done to unabashedly advocate for its use to those closest to you? Regardless of the answers, it’s time to get curious.
If the answer is yes, why? What about your product engenders that confidence?
If the answer is no, why? What do you know or believe about your product that creates the confidence gap?
Make a list and ask others to consider the same question and see where the teams land. Look for patterns, scout it out. Check your thinking against other data collection you’ve done, and then take action! There is nothing better than stewarding and building a product you really love and believe in.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that everyone in product management or product development will use the products they manage and develop. Many product folx work on products that aren’t relevant to our current situation or daily consumer-level use. There are loads of reasons to determine that a product isn’t suitable for personal use. That said, being curious about personal levels of confidence in your product – beyond considerations of the bottom line – is a valuable temperature check for anyone.
So, would you?