How to approach the product management process for an app

Solve a problem with Trevor Hallstein

In each entry in this “solve-a-problem” series I shadow a designer/PM/engineer and solve a problem with them. I want to make basic practical skills education transparent and free.

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Today we have an amazing product manager (PM) Trevor Hallstein. Trevor is going to take us through the process he follows in writing the basic users stories for any new app. We’re using a hypothetical “food delivery” app as the test case.

The overview of the process is:

Understanding what the customer wants to build
Identifying the stakeholders
Creating user stories
Creating design (with the designers)
Adding details to each user story for development

I gave Trevor a pretty vague brief: we want to build a food delivery app (to deliver food). Product Managers are often faced with this kind of vague request, so they are particularly good at breaking down things and asking questions.

Fun exercise if you are interested in learning PM — can you think of all possible questions you would ask without reading further if a person came and told you they wanted to build a food delivery app.

These are the first questions Trevor asked before diving in:

  1. What kind of food — prepared or packaged?
  2. What categories of food?
  3. What geographic areas?
  4. Do you have a delivery mechanism in mind?
  5. Will this app need to coordinate the order management and dispatch?
  6. Are the drivers going to be provided with anything that’s going to transport the items?
  7. Do you need to keep track of the cases?
  8. Are we putting a GPS chip in the cases to track orders?
  9. What age group do you think is going to use this?
  10. I see the few people who need to be in the platform — customers (users who order food), restaurants, drivers, and admin (operations). Are there any other stakeholders?

11. When do you want this app by?

Building the Trello board:

One of the qualities of a great PM is the ability to be precise in writing requirements and breaking stuff down.

Identify the stakeholders and the features they are going to need.

Tip: Try and see how you would create a similar Trello board before opening Trevor’s

You can see the entire trello board here:

Setting up a workflow for design assets and user stories:

Trevor uses Invision Sync to help keep the latest design assets in sync with his user stories. The workflow is shown in the video.

Writing good user stories

Towards the end of the video Trevor shows how he writes a good user story. User stories help break down intentions into actionable items which designers and engineers can work on.

A user story is usually written in the format of “As a {type of user} I want to {goal} so that I can {reason}”.

His user stories have two other parts — “acceptance criteria” and “bugs and revisions.”

Acceptance criteria help engineers and designers to know in detail what must be true before a story is “done.”

Bugs and revisions are usually made after delivering a story and are added there.

Notice the checklists and acceptance criteria:

Here is the video of the process:

PM Process in action

Additional notes from his process:

  1. Uses Invision, Balsamiq and Trello

You can see the Trello board here:


2. Look at some of the individual Trello cards -

Notice the checklists and acceptance criteria:

3. Uses labels in the Trello card for organization

4. Notice how Trevor uses the flow between invision and Trello using Invision Sync. You can do the same between Sketch and Trello as well.