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Mastery doesn’t come from perfect planning

There was a ceramics class where half the class was told they had to create one dish for the semester and the quality of that dish would be the basis of the grade. The other half the class was told their grade would be based on how many dishes they made, but quality didn’t matter.

The first group spent the semester designing the perfect dish. They spent weeks picking out just the right material. They agonized over sketches of their designs. They argued over colors and styles.

The second group just made dishes. They made 3 the first week. The second week, they were able to move faster and made 8. Those 8 weren’t any better than the first 3. But a few weeks in, they knew how to make dishes and their designs were improving.

At the end of the semester,the first group had one pretty good dish. But the second group had dozens of amazing dishes.

Because they got more reps in actually creating dishes, they started making really nice ones. The others had a good theory of what would make a good dish, but only had one shot at turning that theory into reality.

The first group’s dish was a cup. It was pretty good, but the teacher had hoped for a bowl. The second group had cups, plates, bowls, and statues.

In product management, you’ll never plan your way to a perfect product. But by running lots of reps, you’ll make lots of fantastic ones.

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