Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and Bad Product Decisions
(Part 4 – End)

Part 4 – Dealing with FOMO Through Planning

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In my last newsletter, I talked about doing a quick dive into data to validate a FOMO-based decision. There’s another way to ensure that you don’t fall into a FOMO decision situation in the first place – you plan for it.

How do you plan for a situation like this, considering that external forces beyond your control drive FOMO-based reactions?

Well, not all things are beyond your control, because businesses have patterns. Apple usually makes announcements about the next generation of iPhones and the latest version of iOS every September. The Consumer and Electronics Show always occurs just after the New Year in Las Vegas, where many companies make announcements. These are but two examples – I’m sure you can find more patterns out there, both from your company and your competitors. (Although, because of the current pandemic, this year might be an anomaly for the patterns.)

I always bring these known patterns up at my rolling-wave planning meetings with my teams. I ensure that we have some room budgeted in the high-level plan. By setting aside time for these cyclical events, the team can accommodate potential things that might come out of left field. It further allows the business to ensure that we don’t negatively affect our strategic goals for the long term. If we end up not utilizing the buffer we allocated, then we can quickly pick something off our strategic backlog, given that we do rolling-wave planning.

I hope this series on FOMO-based product decisions helps shed light on some strategies to minimize the occurrence. The world is continuously changing, so one cannot utterly discount the scenario.

If you encounter it, I wish I was successful in giving you ideas on how you can address it and see if it is the right decision. I have a few other ways to deal with this, so email or chat with me about if you’re interested in learning about them. I’m sure some of you have encountered it, and I would love to hear from you on how you addressed and dealt with your situation.

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