New course: Blockchain for ManagersLearn More x

The Product Management Blog

Tips and Free Resources to become a Great Product Manager
Tips and Free Resources to become a Great Product Manager

How to Make Good Product Decisions by XO Group PM

Since Product Managers don’t build the actual product, their secret weapon is making good product decisions. From something big like what the new company logo will look like, to smaller things like a line of copy in emails, different factors can affect the decision-making process.

Product Manager at The Knot

Jennifer Garfield is a user-centered product person in New York who loves building experiences and tools for couples and local vendors at The Knot, the leading platform, and marketplace for all things weddings. For the past ten years, she has worked in the US and abroad at digital agencies, software start-ups and consulted for industry leaders such as Dell and Autodesk.

Jen started her career in digital media planning and fell into doing “product-y things” at a startup in Austin, Texas. This inspired her to get a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction and Usability.


Make the Best Product Decisions

Every day, a Product Manager makes macro and micro decisions that enable their teams to design and build. The Product Manager role is uniquely positioned as you tend to have the most context in a company. Jennifer shared frameworks on how to make the best decisions and examples of how she has done this at The Knot.

Jennifer talked about how you can learn to feel confident about making quick decisions and which questions to consider when making good decisions. She also shared some general decision-making techniques you can start using straight away.

How to Make Good Product Decisions by XO Group PM


In a nutshell:

  • On average, a person makes about 35,000 decisions a day.
  • Making good decisions is about:
    • Having the right amount of information.
    • Being quick.
  • The 2 types of decisions are:
    • Decision 1: not reversible; be very careful making them.
    • Decision 2: can be undone – like walking through a door; if you don’t like the decision you can always go back.
  • What to take into account when making a decision:
    • Investment of resources – low/high.
    • Impact of positive/negative outcome – low/high:
    • For example, changing a company logo or innovation project.
    • All depends on how important of a decision it is.
  • Making good decisions is about establishing a confidence level of about 70% and defining a confidence threshold.
  • The more important a decision, the higher confidence you require and thus more information you need.
  • 80/20 Rule:
    • Data about past user behavior.
    • Previous research/learnings.
    • Previous attempts by the company.
    • Information that is publicly available.
    • Success or failures of other companies. 


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here

We teach product management courses in 14 cities worldwide, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply, visit our course page.