Product Management mini-tip — write down the user’s “NPS 10 moment" on day 0.

Much has been written about Amazon’s “working backwards” approach to product management — the basic gist is that the Product Manager (PM) should at the very outset describe the user’s experience of the product from the user’s point of view. It seems obvious to do this, but many PRD’s read more as guide for the engineers to build the product and justifications of why the product will make money.

Amazon’s specific suggestion is that the PM write a “fake” press release for the product: imagine the day the product launches. What will the press release say? Write that on day 0. Does the press release make sense? Is it exciting? Is it clear? Is it brief? If not, the product concept itself may be flawed.

I like this idea, but I have a tweak — instead of writing a press release, write a dialogue. Press releases, after all, are often canned-sounding, inscrutable, and are rarely read by users. They don’t reflect your users’ actual experience.

So instead, write a short half-page play that describes how a user of your product will describe it to a friend. I call this the “NPS 10” moment. If you can’t imagine a user positively describing your product to a friend or colleague, if you can’t contextualize how the product fits into the user’s life and relationships and exactly when and where this conversation happens, if you can’t easily put common, regular, non-jargon words into your user’s mouth — watch out. Your product concept itself may be flawed.

Want to make it a little more fun? Act it out in front of others. Maybe even in front of VC’s when you are raising money. If you try this, let me know if it works. Or if it doesn’t. (Dave Merrill and I acted out one of these “NPS 10 moments” somewhat jokingly last night for our friend Aamir Virani while we were out getting a drink, and I have to say, I think it was pretty effective. :) Hence this blog post.)