Analysis Paralysis

Analysis Paralysis

This question was submitted by Ray Wu, a brilliant YC Alumni. He asked me about my thoughts on a common issue many Product Managers and teams face: "Analysis Paralysis".  

What does that mean? It is overthinking and overanalyzing a problem or topic to a point where you slow down progress or decision making. Everyone from large companies to startups face this issue.

ex: BMW fails to launch electric cars on time (if the link doesn't work, scroll to the bottom of this post for the overview)

ex: article by Rober Moore of RJ Metrics

"Don't forget this... your project, startup or business is not going to grow unless decisions are made and you more forward. The longer you wait, the longer your startup MVP takes, the longer your customers stay frustrated, the move time you give your competitors and conversions keep staying low." - LLOYD JACOB

COMMENT FROM RAY WU: This quote reminds me of PG's growth essay.

What is the main reason for this: IMHO, its the below two.

a) Being Data Crazy: The valley loves "data-based decision". Everything needs to be tested and backed with data.

I tend to agree with the above, but you should keep the following in mind. Gathering data takes time. Once gathered you have to sort all of it, make sense of it, draw some conclusions and sometimes socialize it to get consensus.

Ask yourself, does everything need to be data-backed? Are you over gathering data? Is your data collection taking too long and slowing down the project? Are you collecting the right data?

b) Lost in the Tools Zone: When a new problem appears, you may need a tool or service to help address it. But for every issue, there are hundreds of similar tools/services.

As yourself, did you over-analyze and research tools, test several of them and choose 1 or a few to move forward with? How much time did all this take? At the stage you were in, did you get a tool/service beyond what you needed?

A good example of this is site optimization and backlink building. I do this on my sites and also work with other startups on this. When I speak to other founders they bring up several tools, (usually based on who did the best job advertising to them). My suggestion always is to start with one you can quickly launch with and use. Then as you grow and your needs increase switch to another solution.

My suggestion to handle all of the above. Ask the right questions to discover why or what the problem or expected solution is. Then what is the fastest way to MVP it, or get it out to the market and start collecting user feedback.

Now that you've read the above, read the article recap from the BMW post. Do you see what went wrong at BMW?


BMW AG’s top labor representative offered a rare public rebuke of the company’s leadership, warning that the luxury-car maker risks falling behind rivals in the race to develop battery-powered cars.

“Management has been slow to decide on investing in more electric models,” Manfred Schoch"

Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger has had a shaky start since taking up his position in 2015... Sales of the redesigned flagship 7-Series have been sluggish. He’s also rarely in the public eye and suffered an embarrassing collapse at the Frankfurt auto show a few months into his tenure.

Carmakers from Tesla Motors Inc. to Volkswagen AG are aggressively ramping up their electric line-ups in a bid to win customers in a shifting market and comply with ever-tightening emissions rules. Volkswagen plans to roll out 30 battery-powered vehicles in the coming years, while Mercedes aims to introduce at least 10 such models.

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