Deep down, every single one of us is driven by self-interest. As much as we would like to think that’s not true; that we can look beyond ourselves and do what is in the common good, the fact is, more times than not, we will do what is in our own self interest. Or at minimum, leverage the decisions we make to benefit our self interest.
When deciding what should and shouldn’t go into a release, we try to look at the market needs, at the competition, at the strategic direction of the company etc. etc. But when push comes to shove, and we have to make a hard call on including something or not, our subconscious will have a significant impact.
In a conversation about prioritizing some requirements, I had to make a hard choice between two important items of roughly equal effort. When another PM asked me why I chose one instead of the other, I said that if we implemented the one I selected, it would get a lot of people off my butt. And that I was tired of hearing people complain about the issue. The other one wasn’t causing the same stink to be raised.
As I said it, it surprised me somewhat. I told the other PM, “I’m being honest here.”
I like to think that I focus on what will help drive revenue, better position us against competitors, help strengthen relationships with key strategic partners and all that good stuff. But seriously, when a hard decision needed to be made, my reasons were none of those.
It’s not as if that functionality wasn’t needed or that it wasn’t something we should add to the product. Don’t get me wrong. People were complaining about it because it was a gap in the product and customers needed it. But, the main reason for my choice was firstly self-interest.
So let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in that situation and made a decision for similar reasons? In retrospect, any thoughts on whether that was the right decision?