Tag Archives: Product Management

Cargo Cult Requirements

Photo of Melanesians with bamboo plane

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.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Ignoring Context

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.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Incomplete Solutions

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.

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20/20 Vision – Innovation Game in Action

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.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Picking the Wrong User Goals


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.
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Why Do Products Fail? – Picking the Wrong Users

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.

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Why Do Products Fail – Solving the Wrong Problems

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.

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Tally the Score – Comparing Products Part 8

After building an understanding of which problems are important to your each customer you want to serve, and rating each competitive product , you’re ready to tally the scores and see how your product compares with your competition.  This tells you if you’re likely to crush it, and if not, lets you know where you should invest later.  This series on comparing products starts here if you need to get caught up.

And now, on to the finale…

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Rating Your Competition – Comparing Products Part 7

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 :).

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