Recap – PMF Connect Sessions #2: How to Improve Decision-Making Process When You have No Authority

Written by Published in News and truths, Product Management

Session recap: An effective decision-making process can really impact a team. And as product managers, where we ultimately become facilitators, it is critical that we can get decisions made, and with buy-in. Nabil Naghdy, COO of and previously Product Manager for Google Flights, provided his thoughts and tips on how decision-making processes can be improved. He used a 5-step guide as his framework: collective wisdom, ideation, removing “you,” reaching decisions, and shared responsibilities.

Main takeaways: Whether at a small or large company, the decision-making process follows similar guidelines and challenges are likely the same; challenges tend to be more people-related than anything else; try to minimize toxicity in the team (easier to revert a bad decision by a united team than reconnect a divided team) by working with uncooperative team members on the side to better understand their underlying reasons/motivations. Product managers are the glue that puts everything together; it’s important that we can help remove roadblocks, understand the key decision-makers, and know the personality types of our stakeholders.

Questions included:

  • Any tips on getting recalcitrant/uncooperative team members on board, especially when they’re an important stakeholder?
  • Regarding metrics gathering – how can you best figure out what data do you really need?
  • How do you handle role changes within the team? For example when someone comes in as a new Product Manager of a team but faces some challenges because the old Product Manager is still on the team but in a different role.
  • Do you think the decision-making framework changes as you move from a large company to a small one?
  • How does the impact of  “bad” team member impact the team as the company or team size changes?
  • Sometimes “disagree and commit” doesn’t always seem to work depending on the groups involved, oftentimes due to budget alignment. As a PM, you may often find yourself in a position where you need to convince higher levels of management to align the different goals and force a commitment. How did things work at Google?
  • Once a decision has been made, it needs to actually be put into action, and usually by others. What have you found to be effective? Get the big ones included in their OKRs? Talk to their managers?

Thank you to all who joined us and to Nabil for hosting the session! Stay tuned for our next PMF Connect Session, which will be on “Challenges of Implementing a Product Growth Strategy” with Product Growth Lead, Chris Long, from Shopify on Thursday, 15 February 2018 @ 5pm CET.

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