The common misconception about prioritization and hiring always led to unnecessary confusion and anxiety. We have the same goals in delivering quality products according to the timeline. All we need is a little more understanding across departments to solve the unnecessary confusion.
1. "Let's tackle this ASAP"
abbreviation for as soon as possible
The most overused word in all industries. Let's fix this ASAP. Let's ship this ASAP. Let's get this done ASAP.
ASAP drive the receiving party nuts. Not just in product management. No matter you are in a startup or a well-established firm. Everyone has tasks on hand to do. That's why we still got a job right?
Instead of asking someone to do a task ASAP, which is very vague to each person's definition. A company should define its priority list. P0, P1, P2... Example:
P0 - This is a major blocker. Put down everything and tackle it.
P1 - Must be tackled on next available time/resources
P2 - Should be tackled but not urgent
P3 - Will be good to get it done if no other priority
Many use the word ASAP and most of the time it is in p1 to p2. Because if it is something that urgent like P0, everybody should already be on it.
If you are like me who hates the word ASAP, the bolded ASAP word in will have been killing slowly you while you read it!
2. "Why don't we hire more engineers to speed things up?"
A manager will surely hear this when the project is behind the projected timeline. Discussion of how to get it back on track tend to lead to the "Why don't we hire more engineer".
The person who suggests it usually has no technical experiences. He surely did not read The Mythical Man-Month.
Complex software project unlike painting a house, cannot be perfectly partition. We can't just assign tasks and expect no communication. We just can't.
New engineers, no matter how good they are, need time to be onboarded. They need to understand the project scope. The communication channel. The codebase. Therefore, hiring new engineers when a project is already behind the timeline will make it even later.
However, there is a solution! We can't increase manpower, but we can reduce scope. If we can't shift the timeline, this is the best solution. Reducing scope will reduce the number of tasks that the engineer needs to work on. As a product manager, this is where we come in to save the world.
If it is a demo day, product launch, or pre-committed marketing event, we can focus on the key feature first. Look at the "must-have" feature and work with the engineer to tackle it first. Push away all the other non-essential features and focus to get the "must-have" right. Continue to ship according to the timeline then slowly add the non-essential features back in.
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