The power of metrics entered Product Management to change it forever.
Before product metrics, we were shooting blindfolded. We just understood the result of our shots at the end of the game or even the championship. Feedback and learning took too long.
We were relying on business metrics. Consider revenue, for example. That’s a lagging success indicator. It might take months for a decrease in user engagement to be reflected in a decrease in revenue. However, we could only be reactive about the lost revenue — that was the only visible indicator.
Since then, connected devices have enabled an unprecedented…
Experience has taught us that we can never get everything we want done. If so, we have to be sure we get the most important things done first, or we risk not having the opportunity to do them in the future. That’s why prioritization is crucial.
There are many ways to prioritize. I’ll dare to say that some are worse and some are better. Of course, all of them can work well, depending on the context. However, from what my eyes have seen, misuse is common. You’ll see what I mean.
I’ll take you through these methods: Instinct Prioritization; Framework…
As Product Managers, we need to make sure our product is consistently good throughout time, despite all the forces that try to interfere with it. This is our most challenging job.
Feature requests rain down from every source. My-young-self would jump immediately to discussing roadmap prioritization and trade-offs, trying to please everyone. My-slightly-more-experienced-self learned that when we say YES to all requests, we end up building a Swiss knife. It’s not a good knife; it’s not a good anything. But that’s what happens when there are many trade-offs.
During the past decade, roadmaps have become the pet peeve of many of us — mine too.
How can we be agile, experiment, and be outcome-oriented while keeping a detailed plan of all the output that will happen in the next quarters? Promising a product plan that’s filled with certainty is similar to promising an arrival date for crossing the desert.
Of course, we can create that plan — and we can be very detailed, perfectionists as we are. But it’s still a future that we are guessing or fictionalizing. It will have unrealistic deadlines and, if taken all the…
How can we be sure that the features we are developing will deliver value?
This is a problem we’ll quickly run into when we start thinking about delivering value instead of features. The answer is simple: we often can’t know in advance what is valuable. Yet, it’s risky to proceed when we don’t. We should make sure we’re not wasting resources chasing after the wrong things; to allow much more resources to build the right thing.
This is why we need to experiment. …
As Consumers, how often do we measure the value of a product by the number of features it offers?
As Product Makers, how often do our Companies measure our progress by the number of features we produce?
It’s common for Companies to mistake making features with making progress. But features are not an objective measure of value. Features can be finished and delivered and work perfectly, but still not provide any value.
One fundamental problem of this output-based planning is that it makes it hard to prioritize work. …
Here’s a harsh truth: we can survive for a while with usability or performance issues, but without the core value of a product, we have nothing. Customers don’t have to buy our products, and users don’t have to use our features. They will only do so if they perceive real value.
That’s why we should spend the majority of our efforts accessing the value of our product. And, for this, we need to be an expert on the customer/user: their issues, their pains, their desires, how they think, etc. We’re shooting blind until we understand those.
One great tool we…
Like it or not, there’s no escape. As Product Managers, we need to have an in-depth knowledge of the market and industry in which our product adds value and competes. And this includes having a deep understanding of the competitor landscape.
If we don’t know who our competitors are: first, we shouldn’t say it out loud; second, we should find them out asap.
Tip: search “[product] vs.” and “[competitor] vs.”; we’ll find a good list quite fast.
Competitors can be:
Like everything, products are born and then eventually die. This sounds tragic but it shouldn’t be. If all goes well, their life will be full of exciting challenges, happy conquers and will touch the lives of all those around them. Worth it!
Throughout their life, products will go through different phases. Each phase has its specific demands and will need different muscles and skills from you, as you are a Product Manager.
What is the difference between product and project management?
Some people think they are one and the same, and I can understand that — there’s indeed overlap between what product managers and project managers do in an organization.
I’m all about embracing the overlap and not being precious about role boundaries, but there’s power in knowing what distinguishes both disciplines.
Product management is about discovering a product that is valuable, viable, usable, and feasible. Its success is the success of the product itself. The approach to achieve this success is not pre-defined — that’s when strategy kicks in.