Tag Archives: Product Management

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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Minimum Valuable Problem

redacted use case dependency thumbnail

Defining and building a good minimum viable product is much harder than it sounds.  Finding that “one thing” you can do, which people want, is really about a lot more than picking one thing.  It is a combination of solving the minimum valuable problem and all of the other things that go with it.  Solving for both the outside-in needs and the inside-out goals is critical.

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Professional Services and Improving Your Product

Prioritization at whiteboard

How do you work with professional services, consulting, field engineers, etc. to make your product better? Do you just treat their inputs as yet another channel for feature requests, or do you engage them as an incredibly potent market-sensing capability?

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Customer Churn and SaaS

Revenue by Cohort thumbnail

Software as a Service is not a one and done transactional offering.  A product or business built on SaaS is built on the subscription model – recurring revenue is half of what drives the business (and valuation).  The other half is the rate of growth of that recurring revenue.  Customer Churn is the loss of existing customers and the slope that makes growing a subscription business an uphill climb.

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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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Why Not What – An Example

Obscenely complicated WW2 U-Boat controls

Forbes quoted Steve Jobs as saying “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”  This is a really enlightened perspective – and a way to enforce focus from the top down.  Before you can drive a “this goal is more important than that goal” focus, you have to make sure you’re actually focusing on the goals.

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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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