The Decision Stack: How to Plan Product Features Asynchronously and Make Values Actionable

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Nov 18, 2023

3 min read


The Decision Stack: How to Plan Product Features Asynchronously and Make Values Actionable


In today's fast-paced business environment, it is crucial for companies to have a clear vision and strategy in order to succeed. However, it is equally important for these principles to translate into actionable steps that can guide decision-making. This article explores two key aspects of effective decision-making: the creation of principles that reflect the vision and strategy, and the asynchronous planning of product features. By combining these approaches, companies can ensure that their values are implemented in a practical and efficient manner.

Creating Actionable Principles:

Principles are not just abstract concepts; they should provide guidance on how to build and why to build a product. To create effective principles, it is important to involve both top-level and bottom-level employees in the process. By discussing regular debates and trade-offs in retrospectives, teams can identify the principles that address these challenges. Additionally, leaders can reinforce the strategy by articulating acceptable trade-offs as principles. This ensures that the principles align with the overall vision and strategy of the company.

The Culture of Documentation:

Knowledge that is documented is accessible to everyone, regardless of time or location. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a culture of documentation within the organization. This can be achieved by encouraging employees to search for information before asking and to document their knowledge before sharing it. Asynchronous communication becomes the backbone of this culture, allowing for continuous collaboration and knowledge sharing. By using platforms like Notion, Miro, or Loom, teams can collaborate on documents, drawings, and screen recordings, ensuring that all relevant materials are easily accessible.

Planning Product Features Asynchronously:

When planning product features, it is important to follow a structured approach that takes into account the why, what, and how of the project. The why represents the business goals and client requests that guide the project. Only after understanding the why can teams define what needs to be built. Once the what is clear, the how comes into play, where trade-offs and implementation decisions are explored. In this stage, involving a Product Manager can be beneficial to discuss technical trade-offs and ensure buy-in from all stakeholders. By breaking down discussions into smaller, focused topics, teams can avoid open-ended and ambiguous planning.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Foster a culture of documentation: Encourage employees to document their knowledge and search for information before asking. This ensures that knowledge is accessible to everyone, regardless of time or location.
  • 2. Clearly define the why, what, and how: Before embarking on a project, ensure that the business goals, client requests, and constraints are clearly defined. This allows for a more focused and efficient planning process.
  • 3. Involve stakeholders in decision-making: Seek input from both top-level and bottom-level employees to create principles and make trade-offs. By involving a diverse range of perspectives, you can ensure that decisions are well-rounded and reflective of the company's values.


By combining the principles-based decision-making approach with asynchronous planning of product features, companies can effectively translate their vision and strategy into actionable steps. Creating principles that address regular debates and trade-offs, and involving employees at all levels in the process, ensures that the principles reflect the company's values. Additionally, adopting a culture of documentation and asynchronous communication allows for continuous collaboration and knowledge sharing. By following a structured approach to planning product features, companies can make informed decisions and achieve their goals efficiently.

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