4 Product Management Lessons from PM Modi’s Lock-down Strategy

PM Modi addressing the nation about the lock-down

1. Minimum Viable Product/Pilot Program for gathering data

By now it’s pretty obvious that the voluntary curfew on Sunday was an attempt to understand how the public would react to a lock-down, what kind of measures the state and central government would need to take to enforce it and how to ensure that the essential services keep running.

  • Will the public follow social distancing and isolation voluntarily
  • Was the messaging clear enough for the public to understand the seriousness of the situation
  • Will a shutdown of services and amenities like Public transportation be necessary
  • … and much more

2. Prioritization

Every decision we make comes with an opportunity cost i.e. what we lost because we did not take the alternative. Without doubt, Tuesday’s lock-down decision comes with a slew of associated opportunity costs — corporates facing a hit especially SMBs, livelihood of daily wage workers affected, people stranded in various parts of the country unable to return home, to name a few.

The nation will have to certainly pay an economic cost because of this lockdown.

However, to save life of each and every Indian is mine, Government of India’s, each state Government’s, each local unit’s top most priority.

True leadership is understanding how to prioritize amid difficult and conflicting options, setting the direction for the team and being the frontman in leading the team down the chosen path. With the lock-down decision, PM Modi has set an example of this leadership quality.

3. Crisp Communication —Focus on one point.

In the book “Made to Stick“ the authors’ write about an advice Bill Clinton got from his campaign manager during his 1992 presidential campaign:

If you say three things, you don’t say anything.

For a message to stick with people it’s extremely important to keep things as simple as possible and focus on one core point. The more unconnected things you try to talk about the less likely people are to remember them after your speech, especially if its a public address to a large audience.

  • How will you staying at home help the country?
  • How staying at home helped other countries?
  • Understanding that staying at home is painful and an inconvenience
  • Why do you have to stay home for 21 days ?
  • Appreciating people for staying at home during Janta Curfew
  • How the government is supporting healthcare facilities while the public stays home

4. Empathize and Speak the Customer’s Language (literally)

For people to follow social distancing it becomes important to get the message across explaining how it helps in the fight against COVID-19. In an extremely heterogenous society like India this becomes a challenge as people come from very different backgrounds- educationally, economically, linguistically and even culturally.

Product @ Yellow Messenger | Breaking down Machine Learning & Data Science topics into simple concepts | linkedin.com/in/anirudhshenoy/ | Views are personal |

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