I love DDD, not domain driven design but instead double diamond design. In fact, I even mentioned it in my colleague.readme. Double diamond design solves many of the problems that I see most startups deal with. Engineers try to write code immediately and end up solving problems that no one has. What’s a PM to do?
CPD stands for Context, Priority, Distractions. In my opinion, these are the only three things that a PM should spend time on. How does this relate to double diamond design? Let’s find out.
Discover and Define
These are the first two phases of double diamond. I prefer to call them Problem Research and Problem Definition since that’s what you are trying to do. They cover the left hand side of the double diamond structure. The main reason to spend time here is to ensure that you are focusing on the right problem and that the problem is clearly defined. Your goal is to summarize that and wrap it up for the engineers. Help them create a context to work within.
This is the Solution Ideation phase, the divergent thinking half of the solution diamond. Here your team is experimenting and exploring. They need your help choosing priorities. Where should energy and time be spent? By picking one priority and helping them shift focus to it completely, they will produce better work.
The final phase, the convergent part of the solution diamond, is about Solution Delivery. In what better way can a PM spend their time than preventing distractions? When it’s time to sit down and deliver a solution, the team needs focus and space to do what they do best. It’s your job to create that space.
Bringing it together
If you follow double diamond design, and you should, then it’s clear where CPD fits within that paradigm. I apply CPD and double diamond design on many levels each and every day. My roadmap phases are based on double diamond design. The epics and user stories I write contain a section on context. Priority setting occurs throughout an entire sprint and even as part of our daily standup meeting. And distractions, I try to fight that constantly by shielding the team from not only external teams, but themselves. Teams have a tendency to jump to new things and distract each other instead of working collaboratively. Try to limit work-in-progress so that the team is focusing on one goal at a time.
So consider the next task on your list. Does it fall within Context, Priority, Distractions? If not, then, just maybe, you shouldn’t do it. Are there other things that PMs should focus on? If you think I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments.