Inspiration: Supposing a tree fell down...

"Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?" said Piglet.

"Supposing it didn't," said Pooh after careful thought.

Piglet was comforted by this.

—A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems. Learn more...

I've seen many product managers attempt to write business plans and development documents and sales tools accounting for every possible contingency. ("Suppose a tree fell down!") And yet, some things you anticipated never occur, and the ones you didn't anticipate frequently do. ("Supposing it didn't," said Pooh.)

We do what we can to prevent failure. And that's good.

Instead of trying to anticipate everything, help your executive teams, development teams, and sales & marketing teams use their judgment by understanding the product strategy and your market's mindset. People will invariably use your products in ways you didn't intend. And your colleagues will find situations not covered by your FAQs and user stories. Share personas, a "day in the life," a few common use scenarios--don't try to flowchart every possible outcome.

(Piglet was comforted by this.)

You should be too.