🧠 Behavioral Psychology You Should Know
+ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PMs
Hey there. Today, I cover some behavioral psychology I think you would benefit from knowing. I end with my 7 habits of highly effective PMs. Have a splendid week.
• The phenomenon: human activity is influenced by reasons not to do something, in addition to reasons to do something
• The application: remove inhibiting pressures and friction to get users to “wow” fast
• The phenomenon: Humans remember sequences (procedural knowledge) better than facts (declarative)
• The application: the flow of the product should show what steps users have to complete
• The law: people will take a longer amount of time to decide if they have more choices
• The application: present a limited number of choices at any given time as users advance through your interface
• The model: Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger
• The application: either make the required product behavior simple or build high motivation to induce user action
• The phenomenon: if constant and consistent rewards are given for a particular activity, sooner or later the interest to keep performing that activity is lost
• The antidote: modify fixed reward patterns to variable
• The phenomenon: Our irrational behaviors are neither random nor senseless — they are systematic
• The application: Product opportunity lies in helping people not make those mistakes
• The phenomenon: we’re optimistic when we make estimates because we take the inside view using our perspective
• The antidote: get an outside view to sanity check estimates and account for the perspective that others looking at your project have
• The phenomenon: We ignore “dangerous,” ie negative, information by burying our heads in the sand like ostriches
• The antidote: Run ideas through prototype testing and the company to hear the cons of a solution before building it
• The phenomenon: We overestimate how much people notice us and our flaws
• The antidote: Fix mistakes via feedback but never be shy about doing the job
• The phenomenon: We tend to overvalue the usefulness of innovations
• The antidote: Prefer the simplest way to solve a user need over the most innovative
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The experts in the field have much more nuanced things to say. Check them out.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PMs
1: Don’t call me. I’ll call you.
Dara Khosrowshahi, the famed CEO of Uber, used this line with his board. It applies to PMs, too. The PM version of, “Be Proactive,” is coming to the team often enough - with the right info - for them to not have to come to you (a lot).
2: High fidelity prototypes as often as feasible
High fidelity prototypes help embody, “Begin with the end in mind.” The team can use the product like users will. As a result, build them as often as feasible.
3: Prioritization is the Job
PMs don’t need to exist for software delivery teams to exist. Engineers can get along just fine. PMs help with discovery and priorities. When they do it right, they transform feature teams to product teams. It’s how PMs, “Put First Things First.”
4: Discovering Clever Solutions
As PMs lead teams to build features, they need to discover clever solutions. Often, a feature might help one metric (team) but hurt another. Great PMs must thread the needle. To embody, “Think Win-Win,” PMs must discover clever solutions.
5: Always Learning More
In PM, learning about your product and your user never ends. PMs must always be learning more, in order to build the right features. So, to embody, “Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood,” PMs must be constant learners.
6: Leading, not Managing, the Product Team
The title product manager itself is flawed. PMs don’t manage the team. They lead it. To embody the principle of, “Synergize,” PMs must create the conditions for the team’s powers to be greater than the sum of its parts.
7: Improving Daily
Product management is a series of difficult skills: product sense, stakeholder management, writing, and leading. For PMs to embody the final habit of, “Sharpen the Saw,” they must improve daily on these skills.
PM is stressful enough. Instead of focusing on results, focus on the process of improvement. It doesn’t matter how good of a PM you are today. With the right habits, you can become a highly effective PM.