“The End”. It never is though…

Working towards a deadline can become an obsession. It can seem to draw you in with the pull of a black-hole to such an extent that everything else becomes irrelevant, invisible, meaningless. This can be a positive experience, putting ever-greater focus on the event itself and exhorting significant extra commitment from you. But it can also have the negative effect of blinding you, changing your frame of reference and altering your sense of perspective. It can lead you to incorrectly conclude that there is nothing beyond the deadline and leave you exposed, and under-prepared.

As is so often the case, it requires a delicate balancing act to wring the maximum from the positives, whilst simultaneously avoiding any potential damage from the negative effects. Those who manage this well will be best-prepared for what follows immediately after the deadline. With major product launches and public announcements of new releases, Product Managers need to be aware of the pitfalls of becoming overly obsessed with a date – the date.

GraingerWatkins winning gold_2

[Photo courtesy of International Business Times]

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“It just works”

For many years Apple fans have pointed out to detractors that the reason they love their latest Apple product is simple – “It just works”. This is a phrase which Steve Jobs repeatedly used at product announcements and it has become a generic catch-phrase to describe anything which works in a manner which doesn’t require the user to know how it works.

Steve Jobs recognised that most of us aren’t interested in what’s under the bonnet – we’re more interested in what it does for us, rather than how those clever Cupertino people managed to make it work like magic.

It’s an easy message to spread virally, and it’s positive – people like that.ItJustWorks_2

But it’s just not good enough. You can’t say “It just works” and expect to leave it at that. Continue reading