Product planning & development and gender mindset

In their book Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps: How We’re Different and What to Do About It, Allan and Barbara Pease explain the way most men and women are going at problem solving as fundamentally opposite:

  • Women start with a core solution and then add to it until it reaches an appropriate satisfaction level.
  • Men start with a broader view and chop out things until they get to the core solution.

A good analogy would be that women approach problem solving like artist deal with clay, while men a have more of a sculptor approach.

Interestingly enough, in this September 2010 post, Seth Godin writes:

Step one: Open all doors. Learn a little about a lot. Consider as many options as possible, then add more.

Step two: Relentlessly dismiss, prune and eliminate. Choose. Ship.

The problem most people run into is that they mix the steps and confuse them. During step one, they aren’t open enough, aren’t willing enough to consider the impossible. And then, in step two, fear of shipping kicks in and they stay open too long, hold on to too many options and hesitate.

Simple doesn’t always mean easy.

Combining the Pease’s theory with Seth’s this looks like to develop and ship a successful product, a woman should be in charge of product planning, a man in charge of product management (if we’re talking marketing) ; or a woman in charge of feature planning and a man in charge of project delivery management (if we’re talking product development).

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