Imagine sitting down to write a blog post on how to cook your favorite dish and three sentences in you start to edit a photo for instagram but right before you hit post you realize that instagram is down so you go back to your blog post then instagram comes back up but your copy didn’t save and you have to start typing all of your hashtags out again.

Now that’s a fucking run on sentence if I ever wrote one.

But it’s also context switching.

And if you’re a PM it’s your job to protect your team from it.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last 12 months. It might not be the “best” solution. But it is effective.

Add friction.

Seriously. Make it hard for people to ask your team questions.

Back in my retail leadership days I had an incredible manager who worked for me. The only problem was that they came to me with excessive questions because I was always available to help.

Want to know my solution?

I challenged them to type out their question in an email and read it out loud before sending it.

The result was an 87% decrease in questions and a 300% increase in their productivity and confidence (I made those numbers up but they’re probably accurate).

Here’s how you can add friction as a Product Manager:

– Ask for proof/documentation.

– Ask them to explain why your team owns the issue.

– Set up a process to require support tickets.

– Don’t respond to the first message (or just take your time).

You might be reading this thinking damn Brennan, you’re a dick.

Sure, maybe.

But I think that it’s a dick move to not respect and value other people’s time.

Context switching kills (productivity). Please don’t ask us do it.