Product Management

In The Innovation Machine. More on Medium.

Image for post
Image for post

What’s the (user) story?

User stories are simple, yet extremely powerful constructs: they describe pieces of functionality from a user’s point of view, expressed in a solid, compact way. They reflect what a particular class of user needs and the value to be gained. The format is very simple and easy to use. There are several variations, including:

As a <role or persona>, I can <goal/need> so that <why>”

Or, in another instance:

“As a <particular class of user>, I want to <be able to perform/do something> so that <I get some form of value or benefit>

Why User Stories?

User stories provide an excellent way to define your product with clarity. A set of well-defined, prioritized user stories can help you articulate the functionality of your product using ‘plain English’ — with no technicalities and implementation details. …

Image for post
Image for post

The ‘next big thing’ for your business, might be there already, in some form, within your organization: as an undocumented, abstract concept being discussed by your employees; or as the outcome of an old hackathon — still waiting for somebody to take action. It could be hidden in a 120-slide presentation file; or as a TL;TR block of text in your inbox.

Your lack of readiness to spot the next big idea translates to significant opportunity cost: what if this big idea is there but not properly communicated, evaluated or not even discovered?

Fortunately, technology can help — by enabling an always-on, intelligent ideation process.

Ideas are frequently overlooked or archived— typically due to lack of an effective method to handle them. As ideas can be generated at any time, there is a risk of ignoring them as not relevant or out of context.

But even if a great idea is spotted, if it happens to be out of a particular context, it may not be properly evaluated. The same might happen if this great idea is actually ahead of its time: it may be miss-classified as ‘not feasible’ or ‘over-ambitious’ and get discarded. …

Start with the problem, understand your users, the market, your competitors; define the ‘complete product’; then identify its smallest subset which can still bring enough value to early customers; so they stay engaged and promote your product.

Image for post
Image for post

This article provides actionable guidance on how to define a good Minimum Viable Product and avoid common mistakes and risks. If you are in the process of designing a product, or setting up your startup or otherwise involved in product management, read on.

1. Start by framing the problem

One of the most important steps in the product development process — is the understanding and proper articulation of the problem. It is a good idea to use a model, a structure to help you formulate the problem with clarity.

Start by describing the ideal situation versus the current one, and how certain users are impacted by this…

Novelty is an essential notion in an innovation context — it is a desired quality of business ideas, services, products, and features. But how critical it is?

Image for post
Image for post

People frequently confuse innovation with invention. In many cases, teams tend to over-index the importance of novelty in a business context. I’ve seen great ideas being abandoned due to the fact that ‘somebody else is already doing it’. On the other hand, I have experienced teams getting excited about an idea, more due to its uniqueness and less due to its potential.

Novelty is essential for innovation; but it is not the definitive factor for its success.

Truly novel ideas that are proven to solve a major problem in a unique way, create business opportunities, and may also enrich the state-of-the-art. …

Product development is of critical importance for technology startups: given the limited budget typically available to early-stage startups, making the right product development decisions can make the difference between success and failure.

Image for post
Image for post

In a report* by CBInsights, failure reasons such as ‘Non-friendly product’ and ‘Product without a business model’ feature at the top of the list. According to the same source, 42% of the startups analyzed, stated that there was ‘no market need’ for their product, while 17% delivered ‘a non-user-friendly product’.

Other reports, articles, and blogs from startup founders, seem to agree that most of the major failure factors are strongly connected to product management.

Product-related startup risks

Product-related risks could refer to both the definition and the actual development/ implementation of Minimum Viable Product. A poorly-defined product, regardless of how well-built, will probably fail to solve the problem and deliver value to its users. …

Image for post
Image for post

Design Sprints can generate remarkable output for your company — such as a backlog of impactful ideas, functional prototypes, learning, and key insights from customers along with real business opportunities.

Consider this situation: your company needs to solve a major real-world problem — you need a novel solution, better than any other offering available in the market. You could be aiming for a product, a component, a system, a service, or a process.

In an ideal scenario, before making any investments, you would need the set of candidate solutions, prototyped, and exposed to a controlled set of real users. …

What are the key qualities of a great Product Leader? What makes a great Product Manager?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Building great products is a difficult and complex job, but also fascinating. To become a successful Product Manager, you need to be both visionary and pragmatic. Great ‘product guys’ are passionate about their initiatives; they are ready to spend all their energy in forming and driving great ideas to market; they are strategic thinkers and have the ability to see product opportunities when others are lost in noise and ambiguity.

In fact, I prefer using ‘leadership’ over ‘management’ in the title: Product Leaders don’t just manage a product; they envision great products out of the blue; they spot those critical differences between a great product and an average one; they know how to build a product from scratch — how to shape the scope, where to focus and how to prioritize features; they can make epic things happen — by timely releasing the right instances of their product, in the right order. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store