What are the Six Thinking Hats in Product Management?

The Six Thinking Hats method is a decision-making and problem-solving framework that helps Product Managers look at challenges from different perspectives. 

The Six Thinking Hats framework for Product Managers 

What are the Six Thinking Hats?

Six Thinking Hats is a framework for decision-making and problem-solving that was developed by Edward de Bono. It helps Product Teams approach challenges from different angles and perspectives. Each “hat” represents a different way of looking at a problem, on a spectrum from positive to negative, rational to intuitive, and more. Let’s look at each hat we have on our hatstand: 

  • White Hat: Data, facts, metrics and other concrete information

  • Red Hat: Intuition, feelings, and emotions

  • Black Hat: Pessimism; risks and challenges

  • Yellow Hat: Optimism; ‘blue sky’ thinking for best-case scenarios

  • Green Hat: Creativity, new ideas, out-of-the-box thinking

  • Blue Hat: Organization and process, getting everything mapped out

Six Thinking Hats glossary

Why use the Six Thinking Hats in Product Management?

The Six Thinking Hats method exists to encourage teams to think more deeply and critically about problems and decisions. This structured approach for different kinds of thinking can help Product Teams avoid groupthink and ensure that all voices are heard. The method has been used successfully by organizations across industries, and is a valuable tool for any Product Manager looking to improve their decision-making process.

How to implement the Six Thinking Hats framework

If you have enough people on your team, you can use a meeting to assign each of the ‘hats’ to one person on your team. They can represent this perspective and bring it to bear on the challenge you are facing. You can also work through each of the ‘hats’ in sequence individually or in smaller groups, forcing you to think differently about things and question assumptions.

When to use Six Thinking Hats in Product Management

The Six Thinking Hats method is especially useful when making strategic decisions or solving complex problems. It can be used in a variety of settings, including brainstorming sessions, team meetings, and project planning sessions. When implementing the method, it's important to ensure that all team members understand the purpose and structure of the framework, and to assign a facilitator to guide the discussion.

The Six Thinking Hats in action

At our last team meeting, we used the Six Thinking Hats method to brainstorm new ideas for our product roadmap. By considering each mode of thinking, we were able to generate a wide range of ideas and evaluate them more effectively.

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