Book summary: Farther, Faster, and Far Less Drama


1. Orient honestly

To do this ask:

  • Where are we now
  • Are we all in the same place? Do we have the same understanding?
  • What makes this moment complicated?
  • What is the uncomfortable truth that I’m not allowing myself to see or accept?

2. Value outcomes

When you value plans more than outcomes it’s easy to mistake effort for achievement.

3. Leverage the brains

You only need three kinds of people in any decision meeting: the people with the authority to say yes, the people with the information or expertise, and the people who have to live with the outcome. If this means leaving out lots of people from a decision team, then think of it as representative rather than direct democracy, says Janice.

4. Make durable decisions

Eliminate waste by changing your standards. Two kinds of waste come into decision making, says Janice – decisions can either be very slow or made quickly but chaotically. In the latter case this is because they may be made unilaterally, made by the wrong people, or with no commitment from others. While such decisions may be fast, productivity will be slow, Janice says.

Durable decisions should balance speed and strength. Two sentences to look out for here are “Can you live with it?” and “Does it move us forward?”, says Janice, these are different from “Do we all agree?” and “Is it the best?”.

“I think most drama comes from difficulties in decision-making,” Janice concludes. “I think decision making is a leadership skill. If you can facilitate great decision-making in a great decision-making process by bringing this more realistic framing to it, then you’re going to improve the culture of your organisations tremendously.”


Orient honestly


Point A and point B. Where are we now? Where do we want to be? Relates to Vision.

What makes a good point A? You need to be brutally honest about your status quo. Include any disorder or messiness. Be sure to capture your hardest win, most durable markers of progress, points of tension, messiness, and uncertainty.

What makes a good point B? Point B should be specific enough to guide your actions, but not so specific that it points you towards a single possible outcome.


Concrete and measurable goals are mostly framed as outputs: writing a book, hitting a sales goal, losing weight. When we orient around outcomes we define what we want to have, change, or be, and put loose parameters around that. We decide on an ideal end-state that could come to pass in a variety of ways.

Be happy going to work in the morning.Quit job/company.New job & company.
Have less stress, drama, conflict.Find a new situation; talk with supervisors.New role at same company; new project with different team.
Manage or mitigate the dysfunctional situation.Build relationship with coworkers.Support within current role.

A tool for finding the truth: Five times why

Self deception: we don’t know everything. What do I know? How do I know it?

How do we know we’re not honest to ourselves?

1WHY is there no coffee in the coffeepot?Because we’re out of coffee filters.
2WHY are there no coffee filters?Because nobody bought them at the store.
3WHY didn’t someone buy them on the last shipping trip?Because they weren’t on the shopping list.
4WHY weren’t they on the shopping list?Because there were still some left when we wrote the list.
5WHY were there still a few left when we wrote the list?uhhhh?

A hyper dynamic world

The OODA loop makes it easier for individuals to decide which actions to take in dynamic situations.

OODA loop example:

Observe: based on many inputs, each day an air mission plan is released that describes what each combat plane will be doing the next day.

Orient: Once the plan is released, a tanker planner team evaluates the needs, assesses where tankers will be needed, and at what exact times in order to keep the combat planes on-mission.

Decide: tankers and personnel are allocated to each of the specified coordinates.

Act: each morning, a tanker plan is submitted for the day’s sorties.

Value outcomes

Everyone takes it on faith that if we execute our little portion of the plan according to the items that were specified up front, then we will necessarily have done the right thing and have delivered the value. When you value planning above outcomes, it’s easy to conflate effort with achievement.

Outcome oriented roadmap

  1. It you spend time doing it, it’s an activity.
  2. The tangible result of that time spend is an output.
  3. The reason for doing those two things is the outcome.

People involved in creating an OORM:

  1. People with the authority to say yes;
  2. People who have relevant knowledge;
  3. People who have to live with the outcome.

Tests to bulltproof the OORM:

  1. Are the outcomes clearly articulated?
  2. How good are your metrics?
  3. Have you articulated risks and mitigations?
  4. Does your roadmap represent an aligned viewpoint?
  5. Is your roadmap easy to discover and consume?

Making outcomes actionable

Provide just enough direction.

OGSM: Objective, Goals, Strategies, Measures.

OKRs: Objects, Key Results

V2MOM: Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures.

Leverage the brains

Leverage the brain in three steps:

  1. Frame the problem
  2. Get the right people in the room
  3. Respect your collaborators

Externalize, Organize, Focus

Externalize (go-wide): the first step is putting as much of the situation as possible into physical space, so that people can literally see what’s going on in each other’s heads. In most cases, externalizing means writing down our thoughts our ideas where others can see and understand them. This can be, for example, in a narrative (Narratives).

Organize (now, decide): next, we make sense of the undifferentiated mess of items we’ve just externalized. The most common approach to organizing is to group items, ideas or subjects into logical sets, for example, by type, urgency, cost, or any other criterion.

Focus (prepare for action): we need to decide what matters based on the organizing. We need to interpret the significance of each group and let that guide us in a decision.

Reinventing “the meeting”

Definition in 1976: A meeting is a place where the group revises, updates, and adds to what it knows as a group. We didn’t have computers, email, text, or video in 1976, so this made sense. Our options for communications and collaboration where very limited, so this was the only efficient format.

Tips on how to run a modern meeting:

  • Switch up language: let’s move from “agenda” or “topics to discuss” to “work plan”. Let’s stop using “meeting” but use “decision session” or “work session” instead. These small language tweaks set different expectations for how the time will be spend.
  • Frame the meeting with an AB3: explain point A (start of the meeting) and point B (end of the meeting), and three agreements / methods that you will use to move from A to B.

Make durable decisions


  1. It this a decision we can all live with?
  2. If we went in this direction, is that something we could all live with?

These questions widens the aperture of possibility, while reducing the chances that someone will back out later.

Decision-making process

Steps in the decision-making process:

  1. Notice there is a decision to make;
  2. Gather inputs (costs, potential solutions, time frame);
  3. Weighing options (pros and cons);
  4. The moment of choice;
  5. Resourcing (who is going to execute?)
  6. Execution.

It’s fine to move back into a previous step if this feels right.

Durable decisions

  1. Avoid absolutes (find a good enough decision instead of the “right” decision);
  2. Get the facts right (to move quickly, first gather facts and inputs);
  3. Consent, not consensus (agree to disagree);
  4. The right people, but not too many (people with the authority to say yes, people who have subject-matter knowledge, people who have to live with the outcome);
  5. Reduce the scope (break down large decisions into incremental moves);
  6. Mental agility and growth mindset required (if stakeholders come with their mind made up, it will be a difficult discussion).


Understanding: stakeholders need to understand what it is you’re proposing. Any decision that is made without understanding is highly vulnerable;

Belief: once a stakeholder understands your thinking, you need to help them believe in it. That means hearing objections, exploring concerns, and satisfying curiosity;

Advocacy: when someone is putting their social capital on the line to spread the idea, you know that they must truly support it;

Decision-making: are stakeholders making decisions in support of the idea? This represents the most enduring form of support.


Writing narratives forces me to focus on the content and the story. The writing process itself triggers a deep thought process and helps me to iteratively improve the story.

A narrative can have different structures. One example is:

  • In the past it was like this …
  • Then something happened …
  • So now we should do this …
  • So the future might be like this …

Another example of the structure of a narrative:

  1. Context (or question)
  2. Approach (Approaches to answer the question – by whom, by which method, and their conclusions)
  3. Differentiation (How is your attempt at answering the question different or same from previous approaches? Also compared to competitors)
  4. Now what? (that is, what’s in it for the customer, the company, and how does the answer to the question enable innovation on behalf of the customer?)
  5. Appendix

So, why is this 4-6 page memo concept effective in improving meeting outputs?

  • It forces deep thinking. The 6-page data-rich narratives that are handed out are not easy to write. Most people spend weeks preparing them in order to be clear. Needless to say, this forces incredible, deep thinking. The document is intended to stand on its own. Amazon’s leaders believe the quality of a leader’s writing is synonymous with the quality of their thinking.
  • It respects time. Each meeting starts with silent reading time. When I asked why they don’t send out the narratives in advance, the response was, “we know people don’t have the time to read the document in advance.”
  • It levels the playing field. Think of the introverts on your team who rarely speak during a meeting. Introverted leaders at Amazon “speak” through these well-prepared memos. They get a chance to be heard, even though they may not be the best presenter in the organization.
  • It leads to good decisions. Because rigorous thinking and writing is required – all Amazon job candidates at a certain level are required to submit writing samples, and junior managers are offered writing style classes – team members are forced to take an idea and think about it completely.
  • It prevents the popularity bias. The logic of a well thought out plan speaks louder than the executive who knows how to “work the halls” and get an idea sold through influence rather than solid, rigorous thinking and clear decision making.

“I didn’t realize how deeply the document culture runs at Amazon. Most meetings have a document attached to them, from hiring meetings to weekly business reviews. These documents force us to think more clearly about issues because we have to get to a clear statement of the customer problem. They also enable us to tackle potentially controversial topics. As the group sits and reads, each individual gets time to process their feelings and come to a more objective point of view before the discussion starts. Documents can be very powerful.”

Chris, Senior Manager, Amazon Advertising

MTP Panel: Defining your OKRs in 2022

Discussion panel


OKRs: the essence of what we do, building metrics, achieving outcomes.

What are the foundational steps of building good OKRs?

Prerequisite: psychological safety and a real vision: where are we going? Understanding where you are as an organisation helps. The organisation needs to be comfortable with metrics.

The reason we are doing OKRs is alignment: we want to work towards the same goal and everyone needs to have the same expectations.


  • How does the organisation needs to evolve to move to OKRs?
  • What does the organisation want to achieve with OKRs?
  • Do we want to deploy OKRs on team, organisation, or company level?
  • What is the outcome (goal) we want to achieve? (moving from output to outcome)
  • Ask the why: really understand what is going on. If this idea works, which numbers will move? Then widen the solution space on the moving numbers.
  • You can set OKRs to start measuring outcomes.
  • What does success look like?
  • What lever are you using for prioritisation? How do you chose the objective with the highest impact?
  • Who do you involve in crafting OKRs?


Use SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevance, Time-bound. Focus on outcomes over outputs. Focus on positive change.

If you’re spending less than 50% of your time on achieving the objectives then you should ask what the goal of using OKR is? If you didn’t work on the objective, it might not be the most important objective to achieve. Does the priority fit?

Key results

Here is what I want to do to achieve this objective.


The goal of prioritisation

We always have more ideas, but never seem to have the resources to execute them. Therefore, it is important (both in private and professional life) to carefully cherry-pick a couple of ideas and go all-in. However, keep in mind: it’s never wrong to pivot.

What are we prioritising?

Depending on the industry you’re in you might be prioritising different things. In my work I prioritise a software backlog, but in my private live I (consciously) prioritise in the way I’m building my house or (unconsciously) the things that intrigue me most. In all of these situations we should ask ourselves: what is the goal that I want to achieve? Without having a clear (and preferably measurable) goal in mind, you cannot prioritise.

If you’re interested in the use of goal-models and how to apply these in requirements engineering, I can highly recommend the article Reasoning About Alternative Requirements Options.


After you’ve defined your goals and what you want to prioritise, you should understand the available frameworks. Note that I didn’t write you should select a framework. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to this. Selecting the right model depends on your personality, way of working, and the context you are prioritising. The UX Collective wrote an article that lists the available prioritisation frameworks and explains the different categories.

Source: UX Collective, How to choose your Product Prioritization Framework

Let me introduce you to two of these frameworks: KANO and RICE. This combination works well for me personally. They are pragmatic, easy to explain, and easy to implement.


RICE was developed by Intercom and is an abbreviation for:

  • Reach: how many of my users will find this thing useful?
  • Impact: how much impact will this thing have on the metrics we have defined that allow us to reach our vision?
  • Confidence: how confident are we on our estimations for reach, impact, and effort?
  • Effort: how much do we need to invest to get the thing in a state that users will start using it?
Source: Productplan, what is the history of the RICE scoring model?

You should define a range for these variables before you assign values o them. Then, you can easily calculate the RICE score by R * I * C / E.

KANO Model

John Vars applied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to product development. He came up with three layers:

  1. The foundational layer includes functionality that users are not able to live without.
  2. The value proposition layer makes a user successful or it solves a pain.
  3. The growth layer really excited a user by solving a problem that the user wasn’t even aware of. This should set you apart from other solutions as well.
Source: John Vars, the product hierarchy of needs

The KANO model uses a similar approach: it’s goal is find a balance between things that users are disappointed on if they are missing (threshold attributes) and things that excite users (excitement attributes). When excitement attributes mature their implementation depth grows and they slowly move right, into the performance attributes.

Source: Mindtools, Kano Model Analysis

Practically working with RICE and KANO

RICE results in a number. You can easily capture this in a spreadsheet and sort using the highest number. KANO results in a classification. You can easily create a simple spreadsheet to capture the things you want to prioritise. Assign the value and you get an idea of what should be important to you.

Example of the implementation of the RICE and KANO model in a simple spreadsheet.
Example of the implementation of the RICE and KANO model in a simple spreadsheet.

I recommend that you always interpret the output of the models. Ensure the theoretical prioritisation makes sense in practise.

Implementation and validation

These models require a bit of time to understand and apply. I would suggest to implement them in two steps:

  1. Use them based on experience and a couple of explicit assumptions. This immediately gives you an idea of where you stand.
  2. Once you got the hang of it and found a good way of working, start to validate the assumptions and experience with the users of the thing you are creating. This probably lengthens the prioritisation process. You need to decide if this time is worth it.


Taking the time to explain how you came to a decision is just as important as communicating the decision itself. Both RICE and KANO allow you to visually explain how you prioritised the items you are going to work on.

The Pareto principle in Power BI

Product Managers love data. Therefore, being able to create your own reports to track the KPIs relevant for your products is really useful. One of the KPIs you might run into relates to the Pareto principle, for example, 80% of the revenue needs to come from 20% of the customer base.

The Pareto principle

I’m going to refer you to the wikipedia for the extensive explanation. I will give you a couple of examples:

  • 20% of the customers should account for 80% of the revenue.
  • 20% of the richest persons in earth account for 80% of the income.
  • 20% of Italy’s population owned 80% of its land.

The Pareto principle in Power BI

We take a couple of steps to get this visualised in Power BI:

  1. Prepare the data structure.
  2. Adding a rank to the data based on a specific category.

As an example I’m using the KPI that 80% of revenue should come from 20% of the customers.

Data preparations

I recommend you to create a table to put the data you want to visualise on the screen. This makes it easy to validate the results of the measures you create.

Adding a table to a Power BI report.
Adding a table to a Power BI report.

You need two types of data to visualise the Pareto principle in Power BI:

  1. Category: this can be, for example, a customer or country.
  2. A number: this can be, for example, the sales of a customer or country.

Ranking your customers

You first need to find the top 20% of your customers. You should create a measure that calculates the rank of the customer depending on the sales value.

Rank = RANKX(ALL(Sales[Customer]), CALCULATE(SUM(Sales[Sales_Value])))

When you add the Rank measure to your table and sort it by sales value, the customer with the highest amount of sales should have rank 1.

Cumulative sales

Now that we have ranked your customers, we want to calculate the cumulative sales. This measure cumulative sales of the customer with rank 1 is the sum of the sales of customer 1. The cumulative sales of customer 2 is the sum of the sales of customer 1 and customer 2.

(use SHIFT+ENTER to create a new line in DAX).

Cumulative_Sales_Value = 
var currentRank = [Rank]

RETURN SUMX(FILTER(ALL(Sales[Customer]),[Rank]<=currentRank), CALCULATE(SUM(Sales[Sales_Value])))

Total sales

To calculate the stake of the cumulative sales of a customer in the entire revenue you need to calculate the total sales value. The ALL function applies the selected filters.

Total_Sales = CALCULATE(SUM(Sales[Value]), ALL(Sales[Customer]))

The last measure you need to create calculates the cumulative sales (in % of total sales). You will use this measure to create the line in the visualisation of the Pareto principle.

Cumulative_Sales_Perc = [Cumulative_Sales_Value] / [Total_Sales] * 100

Create a line and clustered column chart

Now you are ready to add the measures into a line and clustered column chart.

Adding a line and clustered column chart to your PowerBI report.
Adding a line and clustered column chart to your PowerBI report.
Assigning the Customer, Sales_Value, and Cumulative_Sales_Value_Perc to the line and clustered column chart.
Assigning the Customer, Sales_Value, and Cumulative_Sales_Value_Perc to the line and clustered column chart.

The result:

An example of the result of visualising the Pareto principle in Power BI.
An example of the result of visualising the Pareto principle in Power BI.