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High Velocity Decision Making

Making good decisions is a core skill for any product manager. Whether you are deciding which problems to solve, prioritizing features in the backlog, or hiring the best colleagues, the quality of your decisions goes a long way to defining how effective you will be. 

It’s not enough just to make good decisions though - you have to make good decisions quickly. When you make high quality decisions fast, the result is a more responsive, nimble organization that spends more time executing on high value activities, and less time debating low value issues.

"A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week."

- General George Patton

Types Of Decisions

Jeff Bezos famously defined two types of decisions in his 2016 letter to shareholders:

Type 1 Decisions - “One-Way Doors”

  • Almost impossible to reverse. You can’t go back to way things were
  • Rare
  • Must be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation and consultation
  • Aim to get right, make it work
  • E.g. Sunsetting product, brand redesign, pricing changes

Type 2 Decisions - “Two-Way Doors”

  • Easily reversible. You don’t have to live with consequences for long
  • Common
  • Should be made quickly by small groups or individuals with good judgment
  • Aim to get right, but act fast and course correct over time
  • E.g. most product launches, copy changes, changing cadence or format of a meeting

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