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.
There are many reasons that a product might fail in the market. One of those reasons is that your product solves the wrong problems. There are many ways to solve the wrong problems. This article continues the series on sources of product failure, exploring the idea that your product may be trying to solve the wrong problems.
Continue reading Why Do Products Fail – Solving the Wrong Problems
Why do products fail? Trying to organize all of the reasons that your product might fail is a Herculean effort. Understanding how your product did, will, or might fail will help you focus on what you need to do next.
At this point in the product comparison series, you know who your customers are, which problems are important to them, and which products compete to solve those problems. It’s time to score the competing products and see how the solutions your product provides (or will provide) will stack up. This is the latest in a series on comparing products, jump back to the start of the series if you came here first, but hurry up :).
Continue reading Rating Your Competition – Comparing Products Part 7
You start with a point of view about what makes a minimum viable product. When your product launches, it is your customer’s point of view that matters. You must understand which problems your customers care about solving, and what solutions are available to your customers today. You need to understand your competition to make informed decisions about your product. This is the latest in a series on comparing products – jump back to the beginning of the series to catch up, we’ll wait.
Continue reading Know Your Competition – Comparing Products Part 6
Your boss wants a commitment. You want to offer a prediction. Agile, you say, only allows you to estimate and predict – not to commit. “Horse-hockey!” your boss exclaims, “I want one throat to choke, and it will be yours if you don’t make a commitment and meet it.” There’s a way to keep yourself off the corporate gallows – estimate, predict, and commit – using agile principles.
This is an article about agile product management and release planning.
Continue reading Agile Estimation, Prediction, and Commitment
Intellectual Property. The legal jargon definition of this term has come to effectively mean “something I’ve patented, copyrighted, or hold as a trade secret.” A more general interpretation is “an idea.” For product managers, the most valuable ideas are insights.
Continue reading The Value of Insights
A lot of teams that I’ve worked on and with get hung up when thinking about defining requirements for “migration projects” and “system upgrades.” There’s some intangible barrier to being market focused when it comes to improving existing internal systems. Every new product represents a solution to an existing problem. Why do so many projects move forward with teams that are blind to the actual requirements?
Continue reading Everything Old is New Again
Estimating the “value” of features is a waste of time. I was in a JAD session once where people argued about if the annoying beeping (audible on the conference line) was a smoke alarm or a fire alarm. Yes, you can get to an answer, but so what?! The important thing is to solve the problem.
Continue reading Don’t Prioritize Features!
Agile values working software over comprehensive documentation – it is 1/4th of the original manifesto. That doesn’t mean don’t document! It means don’t document more than you need to document. Documentation does have value, but the practice of documenting got excessive – that’s why a reaction to the bad stuff earned a spot as one of the pillars of agile. How do you avoid over-reacting when changing a culture of over-documentation?
Continue reading Agile Documentation