Decision-making is an essential part of the product management role. The success of your platform doesn’t just hinge on the choices you make but the way you make them.

As a product owner, it’s up to you to decide:

  • Where your product is going
  • What challenges need to be tackled
  • When you’ll implement each solution.

To do that effectively, you need to understand:

  • The North Star Metric that best represents the value you’re creating
  • Every option available to you and the impact each one will have
  • The Product Principles that guide you and your team
  • The data and insights you have recorded

All this context (which is defined during a discovery workshop) is hugely helpful when it comes to making the big choices. You need to consider this when prioritising features sets and building out roadmaps if you want to stay the course towards the right product.

But all this context can often complicate day-to-day decisions and cause paralysis. For the smaller choices during development, you first need to ask:

What kind of decision is this?

According to Jeff Bezos, there are two kinds of decision you can make:

  • Irreversible: These are the fundamental choices that will shape the success of your product. They need to be made slowly and carefully with all the context we’ve mentioned considered.
  • Reversible: This is the most common type of decision. It’s a two-way door. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. You can always change it.

Knowing the difference between these two is crucial. Applying a heavyweight decision-making process to an easily-reversible choice is exhausting and demoralising.

So, when facing your next decision make sure you take a second to ask:

Is this a two-way door?