Doh! [Palm to forehead] There were two big problems with my post yesterday on the Overt Benefit of product management tools. First, I buried the lead (or “lede”). But worse, I was wrong – my first cut at an Overt Benefit for product management tools was, in retrospect, way off the mark. Here’s what I should have written:

The real benefit for me of a product management tool is that it captures all the information I need to do my job, including all its relationships, so that I don’t have to remember it all (or reconstruct it each time), so it becomes an enterprise asset, and so I can use it for analysis and reporting.

There are three key points I want to make about this:

  1. I have a lot more to say about all this information and its relationships, which I will come back to in the future (some of which I’ve already said in earlier blog posts).
  2. I need to manage this information and its relationships now, I just have to mostly do it in my head. As Evan Williams said in his XOXO talk last week, one of the best paths to Internet riches is to “Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time…Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.” Humans have been been driven to create product innovations ever since the some proto-human made that first improvement to the three-chip stone axe two million years ago.

I also want to point out that my two posts, yesterday and today, reflect a common occurrence in product management and innovation. I have a great idea for a solution to a problem, I make a first cut at a solution or a statement about the idea, and then I go home. The next morning in the shower, or after talking to other people about the idea, or just after further thought, I realize that my original idea or solution was wrong, not good enough, partial, or otherwise not ready for prime time. This is valuable! I’d rather have the right answer, even though it’s embarrassing to state a wrong answer first.

So another Overt Benefit I’d like from a product management tool is this:

Don’t punish me for changing my ideas.


About the author

Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

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