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Decisions, Debt, and other Dilemmas


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Our world, as product managers, is filled with making decisions, and making decisions means making trade-offs. Trade-offs so often means taking on tech debt, design debt and other types of debt, which can be a dilemma for companies, especially if it stacks up too much. This presentation explores how to address the uncomfortable topic of working debt, and how to use it to your advantage when making trade-offs.

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Decisions, Debt, and other Dilemmas

  1. 1. Decisions, Debt, and other Dilemmas A story by @simplybastow
  2. 2. Want these slides and notes? Let’s chat Hi, I’m Janna Bastow!
  3. 3. Debt
  4. 4. Our world is filled with decisions
  5. 5. Decisions Trade-offs
  6. 6. Debt is an enabler
  7. 7. Debt enables trade-offs Scope Quality
  8. 8. Tech Debt
  9. 9. No one likes tech debt, but it’s a reality of life your product’s ^
  10. 10. Intentional Unintentional
  11. 11. Deadlines.
  14. 14. TIME Feature A THINGSTODO
  15. 15. TIME Feature A Feature B THINGSTODO
  16. 16. TIME Feature A Feature B Feature C THINGSTODO
  17. 17. TIME Feature A Feature B Feature C THINGSTODO
  19. 19. Parkinson’s Law
  20. 20. Parkinson’s Law Work e x p a n d s to fill the time allotted
  21. 21. Deadline c hcu !r n
  22. 22. You need to make lots of trade-offs Scope Quality Scope Quality
  23. 23. Team stress
  24. 24. The biggest lie in software is Phase 2. - Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX
  25. 25. Shared understanding of company goals Early collaboration in discovery phase Time and space to deliver great code
  26. 26. Build as if you’ll be training a junior in a couple years’ time.
  27. 27. Trust
  28. 28. Design Debt
  29. 29. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!
  30. 30. Via Kav Webb @kylokav
  31. 31. Trade-offs for experimentation’s sake Quality Scope Quality Scope
  32. 32. Design system Better & faster product design decisions… Fewer trade-offs!
  33. 33. Process Debt
  34. 34. Support bears the burden Better help docs are needed Wasted time with manual processes or shaky automations App too hard to use? Tech not up to scratch?
  35. 35. Culture Debt
  36. 36. Shareholder value
  37. 37. Just keep growing!
  38. 38. Predictability is King
  39. 39. Profit Center Cost Center
  40. 40. Product management is a cost center
  41. 41. OUTCOME! ...not output
  42. 42. More debt throughout Building wrong thing Getting disrupted
  43. 43. Quality Scope
  44. 44. Quality Scope
  45. 45. Strategic objectives Holistic measures Safe communication
  46. 46. Admin Debt
  47. 47. Tidy up Time
  48. 48. Step back, look at the wider picture, & use debt to your advantage Don’t just make product decisions
  49. 49. Take a pic of this slide! Want to ditch deadlines? Here’s how to handle the objections: Have a more mature product portfolio? Strategies for staying lean: Want today’s slides and notes? Want to keep in touch?