Space X — Product Management top 5’s by Elon Musk

Umang Shankar
2 min readAug 5, 2021


Let’s clear one thing first — I know Elon Musk, whether he knows me, is still up for debate.

That aside, let’s get into this quick Top 5’s. Where did I get it? Everyday Astronaut’s Elon Musk interview about Starbase and Super-Heavy Booster, if you are too in rocketry then here is the link — LINK

SpaceX redefined rocket production by adopting software like Agile Methodologies, which have brought down space cargo costs by a factor of 100.

SpaceX Dragon Capsule

So here it goes,

1. Make your requirements less dumb (what Elon said)

(what I understood) Always question the requirements, ask what, where, how, when. Get to the root of the problem, as they say, 50% of the solution lies in defining the problem.

2. Try very hard to delete a part or process step

Always run tight margins at the start. You do not need to ship a shit product just because you are in an MVP stage, it still has to work and still should deliver value. Cut out the junk, the desirables, if you know Flacon series of rockets, they have retractable grid fins, in starship the fins do not retract, why because it is not needed, the engines are powerful enough and can drag them along. Remember every kg saved is a dollar earned in commercial rocketry. Every second saved with MVP is a dollar earned with the General Release.

2.1 Do not optimise that should not exist

I think this deserved a headline in itself, if you have reached this far, you are either passionate about product management or me, so you already know what I am saying. Do not over-engineer. If a design takes too long then the design is flawed.

3. A constraint should come with a name, not a department

As Elon says, if you are stuck with a constraint, then a person attached to it may be able to help you, but a department can not. For software, we have Jira to assign and blame (LOL)

4. Decrease your cycle time

Sprints, 1-week Design Sprint, and 2-week Development.

Discover > Develop > Deploy > Learn > Repeat

Need I say more?

5. Automate

Automate the mundane steps, automate metrics gathering, automate deployment, automate processes so they happen like clockwork and everyone falls into their roles and responsibilities.



Umang Shankar

14 years of understanding users, business, and products. Love AI as much as UX and want to see how either of them can match to provide a better world for all.