产品经理的42个原则-原则3:Beware the “Requirements Death Spiral”:当心“需求死亡螺旋”!

A pattern I’ve observed in multiple companies over the years is product managers defining features and the corresponding implementation in excruciating detail in their requirements documentation. When I see this, I know the company went into the “requirements death spiral.” The story of each company is always remarkably similar.

多年来,我在多个公司中观察到的一个模式是,产品经理在他们的需求文档中以极其详细的细节定义特性和相应的实现。当我看到这个,我知道公司进入了“需求死亡螺旋”。“每家公司的情况总是惊人地相似。

It starts off simply enough and with the best intentions:

它开始的时候很简单,带着最好的意图:

A product manager provides some high level requirements to their development team and asks for an estimate to do the work.When the estimate is longer than the time available, the product manager asks the team if they could try to make it happen by the deadline and assures them that the product is really very straightforward and there are no hidden surprises.Because the team wants to be accommodating, it agrees.

产品经理为他们的开发团队提供了一些高级别的需求,并要求对工作进行评估。当评估时间超过可用时间时,产品经理会询问团队是否可以在最后期限前完成,并向他们保证产品非常简单,不会出现任何可能的意外。因为团队想要调节,所以他们同意了。

As the development progresses, new requirements are added as more is learned, but the team is told the release date cannot move, sections of the requirements are misunderstood, the resultant solution does not match the product manager’s or customer’s expectations, rework is needed, and the schedule inevitably slips.Feeling powerless, the product manager points the finger at engineering for missing the date and getting the product wrong. Being blamed after having worked overtime and with heroic efforts, engineering points the finger right back at the product manager for not being clear on what he wanted and frequently changing his mind.

随着开发的进展,随着更多的知识的学习,新的需求被添加,但是团队被告知发布日期不能改变,需求的部分被误解,最终的解决方案不符合产品经理或客户的期望,需要返工,进度不可避免地下滑。感觉真是无助,产品经理指责工程师错过了日期,把产品弄错了。伴随着的就是加班加点、史诗般的努力,工程师指责产品经理不清楚自己想要什么,经常改变主意。

For the next release, the product manager—a little wiser now—asks the development lead to sign off on the requirements.

对于下一个版本,产品经理——现在有点聪明了——要求开发负责人在需求上签字。

This way the engineering team will somehow think it is legally bound to the terms of the requirements document. Product management also presses the engineering team to ensure the delivery date will be met.Having been burned once—and also a little wiser—the engineering manager starts to pad the dates and says that he cannot commit to anything sooner without more detailed requirements. This, of course, does not fix the problem.

通过这种方式,工程团队会以某种方式认为它受需求文档条款的法律约束。产品管理部门也督促工程团队确保交付日期不会错过。在经历了一次焦头烂额(同时也有点自知之明)之后,工程经理开始为日期做准备,并表示,如果没有更详细的要求,他不能很快地做出任何承诺。当然,这并不能解决问题。

Thus, the spiral begins. With each subsequent release, the product manager demands ever more detailed time estimates from development. Development, in turn, demands ever more detailed requirements from the product manager.Without even realizing it, the product manager begins to specify the solution (rather than needs) and the development team, not wanting to be blamed for any mishaps, starts to build exactly what is written without ever questioning it. Worst of all, the customer is disappointed and the product meets with only limited success in the marketplace.

因此,螺旋就开始了。随着每个后续版本的发布,产品经理需要从开发中获得更详细的时间估计。反过来,开发也要求产品经理提供更加详细的需求。甚至在没有意识到的情况下,产品经理开始指定解决方案(而不是需求),开发团队不希望因为任何错误而受到指责,开始完全按照编写的内容进行构建,而从不质疑它。最糟糕的是,客户感到失望,产品在市场上只能获得有限的成功。

The destructive feedback loop that sets up the requirements death spiral is a fascinating phenomenon because both sides want to create a winning product and start with the best of intentions.Further, both sides are behaving completely rationally within the scope of their area (i.e., product management or engineering). Only when viewed from the perspective of delivering value to the customer and creating value for the company are product management’s and engineering’s actions so clearly counter productive.

建立需求死亡螺旋的破坏性反馈循环是一种迷人的现象,因为双方都想创造一个成功的产品,都想从最好的意图开始。此外,双方在各自领域内的行为都是完全理性的(产品管理或工程师)。如果不从为客户提供价值和为公司创造价值的角度来看,产品经理和工程师的行为才会产生明显的对抗。

It is product management’s responsibility to identify customer problems worth solving.

识别有价值的客户问题是产品经理的责任。

It is engineering’s role to identify technical solutions to those problems. Together both sides must collaborate to create the optimal design that will solve the problem for the customer and delight them in its use.

确定这些问题的技术解决方案是工程师的职责。双方必须通力合作,创造出最优的设计,为客户解决问题,并让他们乐于使用。

Ultimately, the product manager is accountable for the product’s success. Product managers, therefore, must be vigilant to avoid entering the death spiral. The easiest way to do this is to focus on the problem space and encourage engineering to apply their creative energies to the solution space. Product management and engineering are on the same team and share the same objective of creating value for the customer. The product manager’s actions must reflect this truth.

最终,产品经理对产品的成功负责。因此,产品经理必须保持警惕,避免陷入死亡漩涡。最简单的方法是关注问题空间,并鼓励工程人员将他们的创造力应用到解决方案空间。产品管理和工程师是一个团队,共同的目标是为客户创造价值。产品经理的行动必须反映这一事实。



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