Forbes quoted Steve Jobs as saying “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.” This is a really enlightened perspective – and a way to enforce focus from the top down. Before you can drive a “this goal is more important than that goal” focus, you have to make sure you’re actually focusing on the goals.
Continue reading Why Not What – An Example
We hear a lot about building products which are “good enough” or “just barely good enough.” How do we know what “good enough” means for our customers? No one really tells us.
Continue reading Good Enough
Your product roadmap is a view of what you are building right now, in the near future, and in the more distant future. Or is your roadmap a view of why you are building whatever you’re building right now, in the near future, and in the more distant future?
Your roadmap is both – but one is more important than the other – and product managers need to be able to view the roadmap both ways.
Continue reading Opposite Views of a Product Roadmap
Theodore Levitt may have developed the whole product model to help companies compete more effectively with their products. We wrote about the whole product game based on Mr. Levitt’s work. Recently, I’ve been using a variant of this model as a way to view a product and upcoming roadmap items. It is a powerful way to share a perspective on your product with the rest of the team, and frame conversations about where best to invest.
Continue reading Classifying Market Problems
How can Theodore Levitt’s classic Whole Product approach help with defining a product roadmap? I’ve been revisiting his concepts and their use recently, thinking about how to revise them for some exercises I’ve been doing with product teams.
Continue reading Whole Product Game
Next up in the series on the root causes of product failure – products that fail because you have ignored the user’s level of experience. The first time someone uses your product, they don’t know anything about it. Did you design your interfaces for new users? After they’ve used it for a while, they get pretty good at using it. How much do you think they like being forced to take baby steps through a guided wizard now?
This article continues the series exploring the root causes of product failure. Even when you target the right users, and identify which of their problems are important to solve, you may still fail to solve the problems sufficiently.
Continue reading Why Do Products Fail? – Incomplete Solutions
Having an outside-in bias as a product manager is important – you need to understand how your customers (or your customer’s customers) would value capabilities you might build into your product. When running a workshop to collect that information, playing some “serious games” is a great way to get more and better information. We ran a few 20/20 Vision games last week, to great effect.
Continue reading 20/20 Vision – Innovation Game in Action
Continuing the series on root causes of product failure, this article looks at the impact of focusing on the wrong user goals. Even if you have picked the right users, you may have picked the wrong goals – creating a product your customers don’t really need, or solving problems that your customers don’t care about solving.
Continue reading Why Do Products Fail? – Picking the Wrong User Goals
Exploring the reasons that a product might fail in the market is a useful way to triage and assess what you need to do to prevent the failure of your product. Instead of taking the “do these things” approach as a prescriptive recipe for product managers, I’m approaching the exact same topic from the opposite direction. I was inspired in part to explore this approach when thinking about the Remember the Future innovation game. Instead of asking “What will the system have done?” in order to gain insights what it could be built to do, I’m asking “Why did your product fail?” in order to prevent the most likely causes of failure.