Godin: Intuition vs Analysis

BackwardsSeth asks a great question that is usually quite a point of contention for Software Product Managers…. Do you go with Intuition or Analysis?

My personal view on this is that you it's a delicate combination of the two. When I think about analysis, I think about data. It could be data regarding competition, use, feedback, resources, and productivity. The problem is that analysis is heavily dependant on history, not innovation and the future.

While working in other media industries, I saw analysis as the key to all decisions. This was rarely innovative. Industry leaders simply scoured industry magazines and waited until someone else did something that proved positive â?? then they would try to adopt it. The result is a dying industry with scarce innovation.

Intuition, on the other hand, can be quite deceiving. Making a decision without fully analyzing data and discussing your idea with other experts or customers can be a huge risk. A consumer's perspective is much different than a provider's. So – a provider's success at making intuitive decisions weighs heavily on their ability to read the market. Consensus is a dangerous approach as well. To quote Despair.com:

â??A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.â?

I suppose it all comes down to your â??risk temperamentâ?. How much risk are you or your organization willing to take on with your intuition and/or your analysis. If youâ??re always playing it safe, someone will pass you buy who is willing to take risks. If youâ??re always taking risks, the chances of catastrophic failure are imminent.

In developing products, I believe the analysis can take intuition into consideration, as long as its risk and value are accurately determined. High risk, with high value is worthy of consideration. High risk, low value will lead to your demise. Managing risk is the key to proper decision making. Managing risk should not be confused with not taking a risk, though!

What do you think?

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