A flexible framework to organize exploration of product-market challenges

Sherman Leung
Feb 13, 2018 · 3 min read
link to full deck here

One of the (more formalized) frameworks that has facilitated some thought-provoking conversation for our P2P pod has been our Product Case Study format.

The original goal behind this structure was to help organize and focus conversation around a specific product question or product-market-fit challenge. We needed a format that could flexibly streamline context-sharing before jumping into tactical brainstorming, and took inspiration from the HBS Case Method to accelerate peer learning through a facilitated discussion. We wanted to share the below framework and some wins/learnings from our first dry run of this format.

Unfortunately we can’t disclose an actual sample deck from our pod given the confidential nature of the content. It probably goes without saying, but this format relies on a mutual respect for an open and confidential space — only then do our most interesting (and difficult) challenges come to light. However, time-permitting, we may publish a more concrete example with a well-known product at some point.

Wins

  • Speaking from the perspective of a case writer, this was a thoughtful framework that forced me to organize a lot of the learning I’ve been doing over the past weeks/months into a concise deck. In particular, developing a salient narrative that tied the company, context, and problem together was a helpful thought exercise.
  • Organizing the case study around a scoped question helped lead to some actionable next steps to take back to my team. The question I posed to the group resulted in salient and specific pieces of advice that I was able to pressure-test in conversations with end-users the very next day.

Learnings

  • There should be a more explicit call-to-action (perhaps in “set the stage”) to articulate why the company is specifically motivated to solve this particular problem. Especially for more complex industries, this can be helpful in giving the right amount of organizational context in addition to the current stage/state of the company or problem.
  • If the question is around tactical steps for launching/iterating on the product feature vs. assessing success/need, there needs to be a more clearly communicated expectation for the group to acknowledge the work done to validate the feature, build upon the shared context, and focus on the next “job to be done”

Path to Product

A community of early-stage and aspiring product managers sharing stories, insights, and product critiques

Sherman Leung

Written by

Investing @AlleyCorp, aspiring physician-investor/innovator

Path to Product

A community of early-stage and aspiring product managers sharing stories, insights, and product critiques

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