As Steven Haines first told me, “strategy first, roadmap second.” There is a step between the two – deciding which problems you will focus on solving with your product. Strategy defines the context for product strategy, and your product roadmap is a planning (and communication) tool for executing your product strategy. Understanding how problems are framed in your market is critical to developing a successful product strategy.
Continue reading Market Problem Framing Example
Understanding your users is critical to developing good products. A “complete” understanding is sometimes required, and always comes at a cost. A contextualized understanding is valuable but less so, and costly but less so. Even a shallow understanding of your users provides value by preventing some dysfunctional behaviors. You do not always need to develop personas before developing products.
Continue reading Progressively Elaborated Users
Taking agile, a process otherwise optimized for small, cross-functional, collaborative teams and making it work at scale is fascinating. You have to change some elements, and retain others, as you redefine the context. Being outcome driven, is one element you must retain – or even elevate in importance, or you fundamentally break the system of delivery
Continue reading Agile at Scale – Outcome Driven (or Broken)
Being “outside-in”, “outcome-based”, and “market-driven” is particularly important for creating successful products. The problem is that just saying the words is not enough to help someone shift their thinking. For those of us who are already thinking this way, the phrases become touchstones or short-hand. For folks who are not there yet, these may sound like platitudes or empty words. I know many people who want to switch their roles from “do these things” to “solve these problems.” They have to change their organizations. This example may help get the point across.
Continue reading Outside-In User Story Example
If you ask someone if they require encryption on their device, first of all, you will likely get one of two answers – yes or no – useful for segmenting your market or developing persona. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a better answer – “you’re asking the wrong question!”
Continue reading Encryption is not Binary
You’ve got some shiny new segmentation data about prospective customers; how much they earn, where they are located, how old they are. How does that help you make decisions about your product? You know this information, but you don’t really know your audience, or why they might become your customers.
Continue reading You Don’t Know Jack (or Jill)
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
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?