How to Put an End to Never-Ending Product Debates
When you’re building a new product, you constantly have to decide which features to build, when to build them and how to build them. However, when it comes to making these decisions, teams often fall into two failure modes — The Never-Ending Debate mode or The “Yes Team” mode. To make matters worse, remote work only exacerbates both failure modes.
Failure Mode 1: The Never-Ending Debate
First, you should be proud that your team has an open atmosphere where team members are comfortable sharing their opinions. However, you and your team will quickly find yourselves exhausted.
The endless debates are a drain on the team’s energy, and before you know it, the day is done. The backlog hasn’t gotten any smaller. To make matters worse, heated and lengthy debates are difficult to manage. With strong personalities, it’s very easy for discussions to turn into debates, and for debates to turn into arguments that get personal. In a remote work setting, this failure mode can be especially bad because you lack the in-person interaction that humanizes people.
Failure Mode 2: The “Yes Team”
Leaders who find themselves in this failure mode have the opposite problem. In this failure mode, the leader or one vocal member of the group is always proposing ideas, and the new ideas are always met with approval from the team. There may be some discussion, but it is largely around the details and rarely substantive.
The “yes team” problem is that you risk making sub-optimal decisions because dissenting information isn’t being shared. Especially for early-stage startups, consistently ignoring reality, is extremely dangerous because you don’t have consistent revenues to pad mistakes. This is known as groupthink.
Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of well-intentioned people make irrational or non-optimal decisions spurred by the urge to conform or the believe that dissent is impossible. The problematic or premature consensus that is…