The Product Chasm — Long-Term Thinking vs. Short-Termism

Why do so many top executives don’t seem to get “product”? This is the 1st post of the The Product Chasm series that introduces 9 different mental models that separate “modern product management” from “the business”. I found these models, when reading through the responses to my question on product twitter.

Long-term thinking vs. short-termism

Product work takes time to manifest results.
Dane Willis

While product work takes time to move the needle, execs often have a short career lifespan in a company. They might not be that interested in that fundamental change of how we develop products when the next quarterly investor call is around the corner. That's obviously a generalization, and it only applies to top execs of big enterprises, but still. Product takes time, and in most cases, time is scarce.

Alright, what now?

There’s obviously no easy way to just overcome fundamental differences in how to think about product and business, and the relationship between these domains.

In our experience, it all comes down to establishing a shared frame of reference, a common vocabulary, a grammar even, a shared language that allows for better communication and understanding. And because human beings are very good at processing information and sharing thoughts in a visual way, it certainly helps to use a visual form to make that shared frame of reference accessible and usable for everyone.

Once we start using such a visual framework to make different perspectives explicit, and to explore the connections between everything business-related with everything product-related, we’ll see new shared mental models evolve. Such ones that will lead to new insights, and to new shared narratives, and to new shared stories, to memes even. Because that is how mental models spread and connect.

That is why we have created The Product Field many years ago, and why we are building Field today — providing a shared frame of reference for everyone who contributes to product outcomes (including executives!), and helping product leaders facilitate the process of connecting the mental models at play. Not just to cross the chasm, but to make it a little smaller every day.

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