You bike the 180 mile PMC challenge from Sturbridge, MA to Provincetown, one pedal at a time …
You walk the 20 mile Walk for hunger one step at a time …
You run the Boston Marathon one mile at a time …
You process the 100 emails in your inbox one at a time … (unless you choose to mass delete them)
the list could go on.
The point here is that it is important that we leverage the baby steps. In one of my previous jobs, we used to get 100’s of enhancement requests from users every month. By the sheer number, it looked overwhelming. But, if you look at it in terms of the smaller steps, it was not a big volume at all.
I had a team of 8 – the goal set was very simple – each of us would read 10 requests every day spending on an average 2 minutes per request
- that is 20 min/person/day
- that is 80 requests read/day
- that is 400 requests read/week
- that is 1600 requests read/month.
On a different topic, I had set an MBO for all of my direct reports that they had to be out of the building visiting customers one day/month. I really did not care if they were out every month – they had to do 6 per quarter – but one day a month was easier to remember.
So if I had told the team that they had to do 200 customer visits that year, it would have sounded overwhelming – how the heck would we do it? do we have the travel budget? – the whole discussion would have revolved around a large number. We did it very simply by breaking it down –
- 6 visits/person/quarter
- that is 24 visits/person/year
- that is 192 visits for the whole team per year.
Imagine, how much customer capital we had with us when having product discussions with internal stakeholders.
It is all about leverage – it is amazing how much you as a software product manager can get done by using the collective resources at your disposal when each resource expends only a fraction of the time they have. Think leverage.
Image: Courtesy of zoomstart.com