My first experience on a project as a Product manager was not a smooth one

“In my next endeavour, I didn’t want to repeat my mistakes.”
I dedicated this to a project that never even saw the light of day.

Here’s a brief summary of my journey as a Product Manager I learned from Binar Academy (I learned more in a week here than most people do in a year out there!).

It was fun building and bonding as a team. However, it wasn’t smooth and I hope it won’t happen again. I like to keep tabs to myself and to learn from it. Even better to share it, so no one will ever make the same mistake as I did.

Sharing is caring after all.

What Was Our Team Building?

The JarPi (or Known as Kejar Mimpi) project was a tech platform to help young Indonesian chase their dreams, The product was built in 2017, around August to September.

Design by Hega Putra Pratama

Check on the <demo app> of the product for yourself and let us know what you think!

SO What Did I Learn?

Poor Decisions in Building My First Product

1. We know building stuff is easy. But forget that building something people want is hard!!!: I did so based on what I thought the owner wanted. Almost forget to see the simplified picture and after seeing it at the end, I didn’t even want to have the app myself. <<SUPER POOR DECISIONS. > So next time, building products that you need yourself is a great way to validate your product.

2. We wanted to do everything and ultimately decided to terminate the whole thing: We wanted to build one great app. It was a mistake, we want every features to be the best and completely full with-in one app, where there a lot of easier solution for each of that features already existed out there and did it even better than us. Avoid this and learn to keep it simple (M.V.P) and to focus is just so important.

3. The way we manage the splitting team/managing the team coordination was not as expected: We had a few key contributors to the project on a different team, with a different schedule. This created a project-long dependency that slowed our progress. Also, almost all of our team had their priority elsewhere. Which made the project become a side project and the result was not as what we wanted. Need more coordination!!!.

4. We didn’t put enough focus initially on architecture and stability: It goes without saying that these parts of an application are incredibly important.

5. The error on monitoring the team member and to keep the follow up: Set up your tracking before errors occur, not after.> In the first of the project, no one bothers to update the Trello, and we suppose to bombard every question about an update for a progress.if there’s a bottleneck within the team, do not keep waiting until the bottleneck is dealt with, do the other task first. Also record and documenting every meeting and everything happening in the project!!!!

6. Set up your communication, don’t forget to always ask if a member understand their task or not: We did chat with each other however keeping communications ongoing about the project kinda become neglected because they often too shy to ask about something they don’t understand. Again, keep confirming if they understand their task and always remind them to not going overboard with their task which will let them go ape.

Great Thing To LEARN in Building Our Product

1. We should not forget the Internal and User Testing : if you’re not doing these as a Product Manager, you don’t understand your job.

2. We should remember the launch strategy: Seek what will resonate the strongest with your customers. Once you find it: scale, Scale, SCALE!!!!

3. “Put yourself in the shoes of your customers”, spending a lot of time with users: Beyond internal and external testing, you should be simulating, emailing, and surveying your users consistently. UserTesting/User Simulation is the most important thing you can do as a Product Manager when you launch a new product. Also, read this by Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Do not forget the Most Viable Product (M.V.P) or just K.I.S (Keep it simple): There’s a fine line between MVP and shipping crap. Always remember M.V.P

5. It’s your job to always explain to the team member: It’s difficult to determine when a product is ready to launch, but it’s the Product Owner’s job to explain the value of learning from real users to the team.

6. And also the do the marketing and share it : Product Manager also needs to market and promote too. Keep share and ask which will lead us to no 7

7. Always ask for Feedback: It can be Painful! Either from team member or potential user, and nonuser (criticism)

8. There are still a lot of research to do, we need it so much: I need more data, measurement, and feedback is always better, especially with a new product.

9. We need to be Agile, and even Agiler: faster, simpler, better. No need for any word other than this I think.

10.And all the miscellaneous: Either by defining problems, product visions, UX, customer journey, backlog, user story, backlog grooming, estimation cost, rules and teamwork, agile, lean product development process, etc. By the end of the project, I got to know a lot more and what to anticipate.

11. Learn why something isn’t working quickly. Fix it. Measure the results.

What Was Building Your First Product Like?

I hope the lessons I learned from Binar Academy were valuable to you and will help you improve the decisions you make when you build your first (or next) product.