On flexibility in achieving your vision…

I’ve been using a quote in roadmap presentations as a nod to the inevitability of change:

“No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.”

– Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

Reading the Wikipedia page for Helmuth, I now learn he was the creator of a new method of directing armies in the field. Rather than directing all movements in detail, he relied on setting objectives and allowing subordinates freedom to execute within the general framework of the mission. This seems very close to the metrics driven, management by objectives that we see many modern product teams using. Dare I mention OKRs?

Here’s another nice quote, via Marty Cagan’s chapter on Product Objectives in his excellent book “Inspired“:

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

– General George Patton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.