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PMs: Say “I Don’t Know” More Often!

Published: June 01, 2017

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As PMs, we’re programmed to have an answer for every question.

What’s the problem? What’s the solution? What exactly does the customer want? Did it work? What’s next? What is the competition doing?It can become part of our identity. And that’s dangerous. Because we start fooling ourselves that we have all the answers. We stop being curious, we stop listening, and we stop being humble. This is made more complicated by the fact that we’re rewarded for decisiveness, instincts, mapping the road, and putting together “killer decks”. Just Ship It!

So here is your goal for the next 7 work days. Repeat 3x per day. Say “I don’t know”. And then say, “I think we can learn more by [some next step].”

What you’ll quickly learn is that often your real value as a PM is having a good guess about where to go for context and answers … not having all of the answers. And the strongest teams aren’t the one’s that pretend they bat 1.000 (success theater), but bat .388 … and humbly double-down on what works.

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