There is a lot of advice out there for how to write requirements. There is not as much discussion about why to write requirements. Spend some time thinking about why you write requirements before you make decisions about how to write your requirements.
There are several ways to answer the question “is agile cheaper than waterfall?” Here are two of my favorites:
“It depends. Agile done well is cheaper, as long as you measure correctly.”
“You’re asking the wrong question. The right question is: is agile better?”
Continue reading Is Agile Really Cheaper?
Is your team focusing on the mechanics of creating good software, without understanding the connections from your efforts to your goals? Are you primarily focused on the structure of use cases, the syntax of user stories, and the cardinality of your domain diagrams? All of these things are important to effective communication – but if this is your primary focus, you may be in a cargo-cult environment.
Continue reading Cargo Cult Requirements
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?
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.
Continue reading Why Do Products Fail? – Incomplete Solutions
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
Continuing the series on root causes of product failure, this article looks at the impact of focusing on the wrong user goals. Even if you have picked the right users, you may have picked the wrong goals – creating a product your customers don’t really need, or solving problems that your customers don’t care about solving.
Continue reading Why Do Products Fail? – Picking the Wrong User Goals
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