Product planning & mathematical proofs: Musings of a product Manger
At the beginning of every quarter, product managers get wound up in creating/modifying product roadmap to achieve their company’s goals. I myself had to go through this grind multiple times already in my career. After doing this exercise so many times, one fine day it struck me that I am no different from a group a mathematicians trying to complete the proof of a mathematical theorem
Hold on.. What now???
Alright, let me retrace a few steps to explain this thought
Not long ago, I read Simon Singh’s book which details some of the brilliant mathematicians attempting to prove Fermat’s last theorem. While attempting to prove Fermat’s final theorem, mathematicians came up different conjectures under various branches of mathematics. To prove an arithmetic statement, mathematicians formulated so many conjectures in other branches which when proven true would eventually prove original statement.
Now, let’s draw some analogy. A genius has a brilliant hypothesis about an innovative solution to solve human’s problems like booking a taxi ride using a mobile phone is efficient & good for economy
Founder = Fermat
Well, here is where Fermat & Founders are similar. They leave the onus of proving this to others
Fermat’s hypothesis in writing. Source : Wikipedia
While trying to prove Founder’s hypothesis, business & product managers come up with various tactics (conjectures 😉) themselves to build the business model which can sustain (proof 😃)
There is more to this analogy, some of the biggest and boldest ideas ( Fermat’s last theorem) by founders gave rise to new industries (new branches in mathematics) itself and keeping a lot of other business & product managers (mathematicians) busy. Technological ideas gave a considerable boost to Digital Marketing, SEO, A/B testing etc which were not so prominent before the turn of the century
Every product/business manager(mathematician), trying his bit to help achieve company’s goals (prove the hypothesis), is like an individual mathematician working to prove Fermat’s last theorem. Different functions of a company like Marketing, Product, Engineering, Sales, Finance, Customer Support are like different branches of mathematics involved in proving the Fermat’s last theorem
Of course, like every theorem there are some functions(branches of mathematics) which contribute more in the eventual hypothesis proof. Product Managers hold the responsibility in determining the importance of each tactic (conjecture) with different functions and building the right roadmap to the proof.