A guide to process signals better and make stronger assumptions

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Assumptions Refresher

If you’re working in product you are heeding to Signals all day. Customer interviews, Usability tests, Competitor updates, stakeholder feedback, Customer Support tickets, you name it. You process these signals, generate ideas and then work on iterating , validating , shipping them. You’re driving towards outcomes, and these signals are simply the first step of many in your Product Development engine.

The signals you process leads you to create ideas and plan actions. These ideas and actions have desired outcomes.

I’ve been trying to understand what makes some teams work well together over long runs. There’s hundreds of parameters that have been studied, but I came across the concept of cohesion in the context of military performance and it made sense to me.

Team cohesion — how well can teams work together, while keeping their productivity balanced with their emotional health? One can break it down into two key drivers

  1. Task cohesion — Team alignment with a well defined and understood strategy. Team is motivated by a common mission such as a defeating rival troops, winning a big market opportunity…

As part of a rapidly moving company, we are shipping and scaling rapidly. A good byproduct is the exponential growth in the number of requests we need to deal with. Since it’s mentally and physically demanding to keep up with everything, we need to deny many requests.

Personally, I know its a critical part of my job but I find saying No very difficult. Every “no” adds to my anxiety — a waiting customer, an impatient sales-pro, a bug that lives another day, a worried CS advocate etc. …

Fog of war in RTS games (AOEO Wiki)Fog of war in RTS games (AOEO Wiki)

This is my second write up in the Series on speed (link). I am using this series to simply highlight tactics and techniques how PMs can improve their pace to ship faster. Disclaimer: I am not talking about validation of assumptions, building for the right outcomes etc.

In this post I write about “Fog of war”. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest obstacles PMs face to help their teams ship consistently and predictably.

The fog of war has its origins in military history. Imagine going into a war without a map of your battlefield, and without knowing…

Photo by Indira Tjokorda on Unsplash

A few months back I had started dabbling with what influences the quality of outcomes from product managers. I narrowed it down to two key factors :

Strength of Assumptions * Strength of Execution = Quality of Outcomes

You can read more about it here. There’s much more to be written around assumptions, validation and product strategy. But I realized i had dropped the ball on articulating anything about strength of execution. One OKR for execution is speed — the pace at which you enable your teams to ship new features. …

This post is a continuation of https://adityarsmishra.medium.com/taming-your-assumptions-mammoth-c6fe403d4d36

The Noise Factor in Product signals

Lets revisit our signal equation

Signal-Final= {M0*S0 + M1*S1 + M2*S2 …. }

Every signal inherently has a noise component which distorts and changes how these signals reach you. The efficacy of your actions achieving the outcomes are dependent on your evaluation and reduction of noise in the incoming signals.

Remember signal processing?

Unfortunately, the input signal to a transmission line is seldom identical to the output signal. If you understand how the transmission line (the system) is changing the signal, maybe you can compensate for its effect. In terms of system theory…

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Every crisis and/or Macro trend brings to light new opportunities that give exponential rise to a few outlier companies. The pandemic for example saw the rise of great companies across tele-health, payments, collaboration etc. to newer heights.

This happens because each mega event has the power and influence to accelerate behavior changes at scale.

Companies with the right products and with the right distribution act as catalysts for these mass behavior shifts. If correctly leveraged, these products end up creating new industries and emerge as category leaders, growing exponentially in the process.

Typically great products would catalyze these behavior shifts…

Aditya Mishra

I love drawing connections from different subjects in a hope to simplify the world of product management. https://www.linkedin.com/in/adityarsmishra/

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