In this article, I want to specifically focus on the term course correction.
Going off Track
You might experience it as a product manager, you have embarked on a new project or feature, you think you have all the information and detail (which is very difficult I might add), a few sprints in and you realise its not going to plan and you inform the team that the next few sprints is a course correction.
I don’t like this term because if means that there is actually a ‘correct course’. Simple question to you, have you ever been able to deliver a project or new feature without a single issue or missed requirement? Has every single step gone to plan? If there ever is such a thing as a correct course it also implies that we know it.
While in the midst of developing a product, I don’t believe there is a single, defined, correct course. There are good courses, better courses, and bad courses. But we cannot in advance know which is the correct course. There are so many things that can happen outside of our control; software, people, life events, world events. We can adjust, alter, change, improve a course, but we cannot correct it.
Course correction comes from space and air flight. If you’re launching a rocket to space, it makes sense to think of there being a correct course. There is a single, correct way to get there and it can be mathematically defined.
In our world of product development, we may think we know exactly what the final product will look like. What features it will have, how users will use it. In reality, new requirements will emerge from the process of building the product. The product will morph as we build it and as our knowledge increases.
I always emphasis that the process of building products is equally important as building the products themselves.
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About the Author
Product Leader. Over 10 years in product development; with experience in product management, UX & UI, product design, product & delivery methodologies and product leadership. A strong advocate in innovation, experimentation and building great products with the use of qualitative and quantitative research, putting an emphasis on a customer centric design and approach.