One of the things that can be a delicate topic, but one which is getting increasingly more visible in the Product world, is bias. Clémence Tiradon, Director of Product at eBay, has all the insights on how to examine your own bias as a Product Manager, and make sure to avoid bias within product development.
Meet Clémence Tiradon
Clémence Tiradon is an experienced Product Manager and Team Leader specializing in delivering successful products in an intercultural environment. She’s passionate about creating experiences customers love. During her extensive tenure at eBay, she has been progressively attaining higher managerial positions, from a Customer Support Representative to ultimately serving as a Director of Product and Design.
Recognizing and Avoiding Bias in Product
We start with a riddle…A father and his son are in a car accident. The son is rushed to the hospital. At the emergecy room, the surgeon looks at the boy and says, “I cannot operate on him. He is my son.” How is that possible?
Over 85% of people aren’t able to answer this riddle, despite it being straightforward, since they assume that the surgeon is a male. In fact, the surgeon was the son’s mother. Why does this happen? Because of bias. Our brain is conditioned towards this bias because 80% of surgeons in the US are male. In order to make quick decisions, the brain resorts to glasses of bias and past experiences. All humans are biased, and that’s ok.
But as products are built for the many and not the few, it’s important for product managers to be conscious about their biases, and act accordingly, so that they bring the best product possible to the table.
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3 Key Biases in Product Management
Don’t look at your product through your own glasses. Try to be neutral and see it through customers’ glasses too. Affinity bias is the tendency to get along with others who are like us. It’s normal and human, but it can have an adverse effect when we build products.
Avoid this bias: wear other’s glasses:
- Know your customers intimately
- Never rely on your inner circles
- Engage, engage, engage
Confirmation: Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories. As a product manager, when you analyse data, you wouldn’t see it objectively, rather, you would interpret the intersection of the data with your own beliefs.
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Avoid this bias: wear your glasses backwards
- Define KPIs in advance
- Involve multiple stakeholders
- Understand statistical relevance
- Seek refutation in the spikes
Survivorship bias is the tendency to concentrate on the people or things that made it past some selection process. How to avoid this bias?
Avoid this bias: take the glasses off and look around
- Use multiple data sources
- Be clear on context of the data
- Ask “what if?”