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?
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
Almost everything I’ve read about use cases focuses on describing what needs to be added to your product. Agile development says “get it working first, make it better second.” That means changing the way the software enables a user to do something they can already do. How do you manage requirements for incremental improvement?
I came across a really interesting article LukeW.com, showing how making changes to the way an input form on a website increased interaction by 25 to 40%. The changes reflect the value of thinking outside-in, investing in user experience, and performance measurement.
Bonus: the idea is cool.
Continue reading Measuring Great Design – Mad Libs Input Form
Engagement – that’s what this whole product management blogging thing is about. Check out what Tyner Blain readers found to be the most engaging articles in 2009.
Unless you live in a world filled with unicorns and rainbows, writing realistic requirements is critical. When you set unattainable goals, the best result you can hope for is a frustrated engineering team. Write requirements that are attainable, and your team will surprise you with what they can achieve.
Perpetually intermediate (competent) users. Users who briefly exist as novice users and never become experts. Most of your users are competent, and you should design for them. Competent users have different needs and different expectations than novice or expert users. How do you know your user’s competency levels, so you can design for them?
Continue reading Modeling User Competency
Growth is a make or break measurement for products and companies. Investment is often determined by expected value, which is based (in part) on expectations of growth. When you create a product, there are aspects of growth – how many people can use your product, and how many people do use your product. When dealing with a freemium business model, there are two elements of use – paid use and free use.
Planning by ROI. Hmmm. Isn’t that impractical? In an econometric way, yes. But you can still estimate the relative value of the capabilities / stories you’re planning for your scrum sprints. The point is – don’t look only at value – also look at costs. While “ROI” may be a poor choice of terms, “bang for the buck” is not.
Continue reading Plan Your Next Sprint By Bang For The Buck: Part 2
You’ve got a giant backlog of user stories and product capabilities. How do you determine which stories to implement right now? By the estimated value of each story? Pick the ones the developers want to build next? How about picking the stories that maximize the ROI of the sprint? To do that, you need to estimate both value and cost. While remaining agile.
Continue reading Plan Your Next Sprint By ROI: Part 1