Parenting and Product Management: Speed vs Haste

People who build products and run them live learn some lessons the hard way. For example: speed and haste are not to be confused with each other. This is true in product management and it is definitely true in parenting.

Ask any parent and they will tell you: putting a baby to sleep is a tough task. Gibberish sounds and songs, oil massages, change of clothes, feeding, burping, rocking, humming, bouncing, swaying, some more feeding, pleading, crying, laughing (but mostly crying) and more bouncing and swaying. Finally, the crying/ wailing/ sounds of general irritation stop. The baby sighs deeply. Its breathing becomes more rhythmic. It shuts its eyes. It is asleep. Phew! The night is cold but you are sweating with all the effort. You put the baby down and try and extricate your arm from under it. Ah oh. A leg twitches. A hand moves. And just like that the crying resumes.                    

The baby is up.

So close yet so far. The whole cycle begins again. You remind yourself a millionth time – be patient. Let the baby get into deep sleep in your arms. Keep humming and swaying. Wait an extra minute. It will save you a lot of extra effort later. Haste is the enemy.

Product managers face similar dilemmas.

The product/ feature looks ready to ship. The company is counting on it. A lot of effort has gone into building it. The team prides itself of its execution speed. From concept to completion it took only a few weeks. Go go go. The product is launched with fanfare.

It’s a dud on arrival. The metrics are awful (or you couldn’t measure anything as someone forgot to add instrumentation – “Hey! You wanted this to be released fast.”). In the startup world, speed and haste are often confused. While speed is important (and critical for survival), nothing kills products faster than haste.

So wait an extra minute or an extra day. It could save you countless sleepless nights and development cycles.

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