How should Product managers deal with uncertainty?

Every product manager is faced with uncertainty. As a product manager, you’ll have to deal with uncertainty whether you’re launching a new product, scaling an existing product, onboarding into a new role, or tackling just about anything else.

What matters most to product managers is the ability to make decisions for their companies and the ability to revisit those decisions.

Uncertainty carries risks, the most serious of which is indecision. If you’re paralyzed by fear, you won’t be able to drive the process of getting things to market.

It’s not a good idea to make impulsive decisions or take action just to take action when we’re faced with overwhelming uncertainty. If we don’t have enough information to make a directionally correct decision, we may end up harming our consumers or the firm if we act too quickly.

At the same time, we can’t sit around feeling down about the uncertainties. We must take steps to make the uncertainty bearable so that we can make a well-informed decision.

Uncertainty management can be divided into two components:

• Bringing uncertainty down to a manageable level
• Creating a strategy for revisiting prior decisions

We can use frameworks to manage uncertainty like:

  1. Make a list of the information you’ll need to make an informed decision.
  2. Determine what information you are currently lacking in order to make that decision.
  3. Determine which gaps are the most critical to close.
  4. Determine who or what can close the information gap in the order of importance.
  5. Implement a strategy to locate the missing data.
  6. Iterate on the stages above until you’ve reached a satisfactory conclusion.
  7. Set reminders for when you should reconsider your decision.