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Show your work

Back in school, in Math exams, we would be given questions that are worth 6 marks out of 100, and others that were worth 1 mark out of 100, and some others that were in between.

However, the answers to all of these questions would simply be a number. The only difference was the complexity involved in arriving at the one number, the final answer.

Naturally, these were not graded as an all or nothing. We were encouraged to show our work, to show all the steps leading up to the answer. So that, even when we didn't get the final answer right, we would still be awarded some marks for getting a subset of the steps right.

In product management, it is common to find ourselves in situations where we need to convince others of our decisions - decisions of what to build next, what not to, etc.

We can do this in two ways.

One, we can present the final answer - be it a roadmap, a feature design, etc to our stakeholders. Or we can include our proof of work that outlines the steps that lead us to the final answer - the analyses done, experiments run, etc.

If you're struggling with aligning your stakeholders on your decisions, start showing your work.

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