My product management toolkit (49): Systems Thinking tools & techniques

  • Event — What’s happening right now?
  • Pattern — Observing trends or repetitions that lead to a specific event.
  • Structure — What is causing the pattern to exist? At this level, we aim to understand the different things that influence a pattern and identify any connections between different patterns. The different things causing the behaviour can be physical, environmental or habitual in nature.
  • Mental model — A mental model is a representation of how we understand the world. It comprises the values, beliefs and assumptions that we use to simplify complexity and understand how things work.
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  • Event — Frequent misunderstandings about product priorities between product managers and senior stakeholders in the organisation.
  • Pattern — A number of difficult conversations in the past few months where discrepancies in expectations had to be realigned.
  • Structure — Product managers will work through and agree high level priorities with their stakeholders at the start of each quarter. Product managers will then discuss the scope of each priority with the relevant designers and engineers, and execute accordingly.
  • Mental model — The product managers pride themselves upon putting the customer first. They believe that their focus should be on delivering what customers want or need, and interests of ‘the business’ (and its stakeholders) will be served as a result.
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  • The goal or desired level
  • The actual level
  • The gap between actual and desired
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Product at Intercom, author of "My Product Management Toolkit" and “Managing Product = Managing Tension” — see