Options everywhere

Setting roadmaps and key results feel like truthful, strategic work. But the flip side is, if you approach them at face value or don’t focus on the outcome, they reduce the ability for teams to creatively pursue different solutions in service of the desired outcome. That increases your risk of exceeding calendar/complexity budgets!

I’ve come to hate the damage the “product roadmap” metaphor does to the brains of everyone involved in developing a product. When I use an actual map of actual roads, I assume that I know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. This is never the case when developing a product.

Kent Beck, Decisions, Decisions or Why Baskets of Options Dominate

Instead: choose shorter iterations that let you try an idea, spend a limited amount of time on it, and decide if it’s worth further pursuit. Optionality! The downside is, now you have to decide on each idea that got you closer to building the product or achieving the key result. Decision fatigue: It’s a better problem than no options! 🤷‍♂️

Consumers, on the other hand, love options. Buying a car, instead of e.g. a bike or using scooters and buses, is buying a bundle of options:

That’s why ditching car ownership is going to be really unattractive for a lot of people - no matter how attractive you make the alternatives. Unless you can replace all of the important jobs that a car does for you, all at once, then competing against the car means competing against free. Actually, it’s worse than that - it means competing against free and nice. Bundle economics (and also ego issues) are powerful enough that it’s pretty rare to see people downgrade their cars, even if their car requirements have gone way down (like they had kids go off to college). Once you go SUV, you don’t go back.

Alex Danco, The Car Bundle

When we’re buying cars, we are making trade-offs on money, signaling, time, practicality, wanderlust, recreation, and whatever hoops the car salesperson is putting us through. Again, decisions are fatiguing!

Adam Keys @therealadam