Category Archives: Requirements Models

Different models, or documentation techniques for capturing requirements. Requirements models are the tools in a business analysts toolkit. Product and program managers also rely on requirements models as methods of documenting requirements.

Progressively Elaborated Users

partially assembled humanoid robot

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.

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Agile at Scale – Outcome Driven (or Broken)

thousands of monks

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

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Outside-In User Story Example

thumbnails in a messaging app identifying conversation members

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.

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You Don’t Know Jack (or Jill)

Candles

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.

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Opposite Views of a Product Roadmap

Spinning cat optical illusion - different people see it spinning in opposite directions, some people can switch

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.

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Classifying Market Problems

amphicar

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.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Forgetting that Users Learn

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?

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Why Do Products Fail? – Incomplete Solutions

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.

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