What to build next? — Top-Down vs Bottoms Up

For the product first companies, people who build the product and product is at the core of their offering and everything else follows the product. The above graphic represents an interesting way to think about product first companies and as a product leader, you can use one of the two strategies to think about what to build next.

  1. Bottoms Up — You can start from the vision of the company and come up with the set of activities that you can choose to undertake.
  2. Top Down — You can start looking at the current set of activities that are being done and look for patterns/clues in there to pick up other/adjacent impactful activities that can be supported.

One or the other approach might work better for the stage your company is in and the product or the feature you are managing as a Product Manager, this would be a multi-part blog, in the first part will take an example using Bottoms Up approach to come up with next set of things to build. In the subsequent part will take an example using Top Down approach to come up with next set of thing to build.

Bottoms Up (Uber)

Vision

Make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone.

Base use case — “Transporting people from point A to point B, safely and reliably”
 
 Taking the bottoms up approach here, we can start from the base use case and try and think about features across several dimensions that would further augment the base use case.

1st Dimension — People

The base case targets people who otherwise would have been using their own cars/cabs, can this be extrapolated to people who do not use cars, but still need to be transported from point A to Point B.

  • Office Shuttles
  • Auto-Rickshaws
  • School Buses
  • Ambulances

2nd Dimension — Transporting people

The base case targets transporting people, can this be extrapolated to other things that need transportation.

  • Food
  • Packages

3rd Dimension — Point a to point B

The base case targets transporting people from Point A to Point B, can this be extrapolated to multiple points.

  • Point A to B, C, D, E

4th Dimension — Safety

What are the other ways we can make the ride safe

5th Dimension — Reliability

What are the other ways we can make the ride reliable

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