Joe Leech

The Decision Diamond: a simple and effective prioritisation technique

What should we build next.

A simple technique I’ve been using, expanding on Mojang / Minecraft’s Henrik Kniberg three pointed triangle; comprises four simple, binary dimension.

Decision diamond

Qualitative User research

Does qual research give us an insight? Are our customers actively asking for this? Is there an unmet user need? Are we focusing on the jobs our users have?

A simple yes and no.

Watch Joe talk over the decision diamond

Data

Do the analytics point to a behaviour? Does the survey suggest something? Does the data warehouse show an emerging trend? Do the A|B tests all point in one obvious direction?

Is there data to prove this or at least suggest this to be true? Again, yes or no.

Business value

Is the business pulling strongly in one direction? Do forecast suggest a direction, a new revenue stream? Does the business need to focus on a particular metric? Do OKRs suggest this direction? Does the business vision / strategy align?

Again a simple yes or no here.

Gut feel

Start-up founders, senior execs, seasoned product managers; we all have a strong feeling that a new feature or direction “feels right”. This alone powers many a start-up but can fade and be lost in larger businesses or worse heavily dominate decisions.

Henrik Kniberg talked about his three pronged triangle at Mind the Product London in 2019

When Henrik Kniberg talked about his three pronged triangle at Mind the Product London in 2019 (16mins in) the concept of gut feel really struck a chord with me. It puts the emotion into decision making, humans are good at gut feel.

Does this feature “feel” right? Is this direction the obvious thing to do? Is someone senior pushing for something? Again a simple yes or no.

Making choices

There are four dimensions. If the answer to all four dimensions is a yes, build that next. Does it meet three of the four? Then build that right after. Two dimensions, further down the priority order. Only one dimension is a yes? Either park it or investigate further in one of the other dimensions. Run some qual or quant research.

If there is only one dimension with a yes, don’t do it. Especially if that dimension is gut feel.

It’s not exhaustive, it’s not full of fancy numbers and doesn’t take a spreadsheet to calculate or a PowerPoint to explain. That’s the value in it. It’s simple enough for everyone to grasp and to use.

Putting the Decision Diamond into action

Don’t create a fancy PPT slide or a nice graphic. Next time you are with the team, a senior exec, sketch it on the whiteboard or in your notebook with them there. Talk it over with them. It needs to feel organic, something you are showing and describing through its simplicity. Before you know it you’ll see others doing the same, they’ll take the simplicity of the model and begin to use it.

The Decision Diamond is a simple effective way to make choices and of course, diamonds are better than squares.

Let me know how you get on with using it.

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