How to make a better product

Every product can be better, the real test is figuring out how. As a product manager, one of your main roles will be to take charge of a product, and improve it. You create a hypothesis and create an experiment to determine if your idea really does affect a metric. The experiment should yield quantitative results, just winging it isn’t enough.

Here’s an example of a hypothesis I had to improve Skype for businesses. I believe that Skype should incorporate speech recognition software into their platform to transcribe everything that is said during a meeting. This will improve usability of the product and will increase customer satisfaction, thereby solidifying it’s place as the main communication software for corporations. People doze off during meetings all the time, and sometimes they miss key information. Instead of having to ask someone to repeat something, they can easily scroll up and check if that topic was mentioned. Another way to improve Skype is to allow online participants to draw on a ‘shared screen’ and have the drawing be visible to everyone in the meeting. This will improve user engagement and will satisfy the metrics as the previous example.

Using these experiments, I would ask my engineers to create a prototype of the product and release it to a small test group and interview them on the experience. Based on these results, I will decide whether or not to release this to the public en mass.

Every product can be improved, it’s just a matter of figuring out what metrics you’re trying to hit and coming up with a hypothesis to test it with.

Looking forward to the future, the possibilities are endless.