Smartsheet Product VP Nitin T. Bhat talked at length about how to make product decisions. The entire recording of the webinar is worth a watch, but you can also check out the highlights below:

Why is it important to understand how to make product decisions?

There are three key points that answer the question:

  • Your product is decisions.
  • These decisions make your product.
  • You are making countless decisions every day as a PM and leader.

So, what are product decisions?

Before we continue into how to make product decisions, let’s define what is a product decision.

Decisions that involve setting the vision of your product, merger and acquisition strategy, execution, the economic impact of pricing and many more.

Remember, a good decision doesn’t guarantee success. However, a bad decision taken at a critical time is a recipe for failure and often irreversible. 

There are two types of product decisions.

Type 1 is Irreversible Decisions

  • Consequential type and one-way doors
  • If you walk through and don’t like it, you cannot go back to the previous position
  • Ideally should be made with a lot of deliberation and consultation

Type 2 is Reversible Decisions

  • Ost decisions are reversible
  • Two-way doors
  • Ideally should be made by high judgment individuals or small groups

Using the Build, Measure, Learn Framework

  1. BUILD or conduct an experiment to test your assumptions.
  2. MEASURE the results of your experiment against your initial hypothesis.
  3. LEARN how to best proceed.
  4. Adapt to uncertainty. You will never have perfect information.

Using the Go vs. No Go Framework

Needs: a void or gap in what the customer would like to be able to do, and what they are able to do. The “pain.”

Features: a product specification or specific function that allows a customer to accomplish certain tasks. The “what.”

Benefits: what a product or feature makes possible for the customer. The piece that satisfies a customer need. The “value proposition.”

Principles: define a set of guiding principles or core tenets.

Operating model: the process of decision making is as important as the decision outcome.

Accountability: being clear with who is responsible, accountable, consulted vs. informed helps a lot.

Porter’s Five Forces

This is an analysis to assess a market or the industry.

  • Market is defined as a specific industry that sells similar products
  • Porter’s analysis is used to access market attractiveness both for new entrants and existing companies.
  • The stronger the five forces are, the less attractive is the industry.
  • During increased competition, companies need more than usual resources to survive, which ultimately leads to less attractiveness.

Bhat also shared about SWOT analysis, which can be seen in the video above!

About the speaker
Nitin T. Bhat Smartsheet, Vice President Of Product Management Member

Nitin T. Bhat is a Senior Director of Product Management at Smartsheet. His current role is chief advisor to the Chief Product Officer. He is responsible for driving overall product strategy and direction, identifying new generation technologies, M&A, key customer relationships. He has led teams to ship industry leading B2B/B2C products during his previous stints at Microsoft Azure,, AWS & Intel. He’s a board member at Eagle10Ventures and advisor to a promising venture. Adjunct lecturer at University of Washington (UW) and Product School.

About the host
Steven Abrahams Microsoft, Partnerships for Teams in Education, Healthcare, Financial Services and Government

I believe in our ability as humans to solve problems in creative and simple ways. I’ve had the good fortune to work on and with some of the brightest and most creative teams and people in various roles in product development. These experiences have enriched me personally and I carry them with me to every new challenge. I like big problems that have beautiful and simple solutions. I’ve worked on financial products for people of fixed income, products that bridge humans across the planet in moments of their greatest need to connect as well as tools that disambiguate, equalize and democratize access to data and content. The companies I’ve worked with range from startups to large public companies where chiefly my role has been about unlocking and connecting customer unmet needs to the people engineering and designing the products. I enjoy playing many roles and leverage the tools and resources at hand to bring products to market. I’ve direct experience when and how to deploy artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced cognitive services. My patents cover areas in video and conversational interfaces, platform extensibility, mobile applications, and large scale software. Following to be read by computers, not humans: Interests include: Human rights, feminism. food and farming sustainability, Non-Profits, product management, information retrieval, UX Design, future-of-work, artificial intelligence, machine learning, communications, virtual assistants, digital media, branding.

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