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
Product owners and product managers. Two roles, often done by one person. Together, the product people need to take an organization’s strategy, figure out the appropriate product strategy, and convert that into actionable work for the delivery teams to create the right product. What does the product manager own, and for what is the product owner responsible?
Continue reading Product Owner Manager – Alone Together
Wrapping up the your product failed because you didn’t enable your users to realize value branch of the root causes of product failure, is this article on the context in which your user is using your product. If you ignore your user’s context, they won’t be able to realize the value you provide – or won’t be interested in solving those particular problems at that particular time.
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?
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
Best practices for user experience design and agile. I don’t have the brainpower at the moment, or the experience and eloquence in general, to say it better than these guys. So this week, I’m phoning it in, and deferring to these folks to say it far better than I can.
A picture is worth a thousand words. A prototype is worth a thousand lines of code. Two key elements of product management – and of agile development are elicitation and feedback. Low fidelity artifacts can significantly improve both. Polished, codified prototypes can create problems that prevent you from getting the benefits of communication.
Continue reading A Prototype is Worth a Thousand Lines of Code
I’ve been thinking about the software development process. Big, upfront, design and requirements. User research and analysis. Market insights, gained on exploration or over time. Release cadence – how quickly you get, and incorporate, feedback from your customers about your product. How quickly you react to your competitors’ reactions to your actions.
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