A flawless technique with little use

A flawless technique with little use

I have used it for years. It has helped me decide what to do next. I have recommended it countless times; taught strategy, product, and technology teams how to apply it. Heck, this was my go to prioritisation trick!

But a couple of months ago, I noticed something. An obvious issue, hidden—all along—in plain sight: more often than not, teams used this technique once, just once.

This is puzzling...

100% of the time... people agreed with me that "this totally makes sense", and they gave it a try.

100% of the time... they got the expected result: a shared focus plus a small set of options, neatly prioritised.

Close to 0%... teams repeated the drill when another decision making round came around.


Despite being well regarded and effective, this technique comes with a price: it takes away your sense of agency.

It invites you to get together, collaborate, and learn from one another. So far so good. But then comes the surprise. It gives you a rational response, grounded on a economic criteria, that defies what you thought the option to go was.

In plain English: it makes you feel you are a fool and not in control.

And when you're not in control, you're not invested in the decision. And when you're not invested in the decision, you don't have a strong reason to move something from idea to done.

So, today I will not recommend you that flawless technique... Instead...

Gather around, talk, and select the most promising option with an "Impact/enthusiasm" criteria. This is a good enough approach that honors your courage to believe in something.

"Good enough" is great!

You don't need "flawless" that saps your motivation.

You need "OK" that propels you to validate hypothesis in a faster way, via small, incremental experiments.