Illustration by Swipes Incorporated

The Process vs. The Product

We work in an industry that glorifies the process of everything we build.

We are obsessed with roadmaps, methodologies, acronyms, and productivity tools. This shared language gives us a sense of belonging and makes us feel like we are in fact product people.

Process is important in life. And we should seek to build high quality products with focus and efficiency. I would never argue against that.

Product Managers and Product Designers glorify our process for building products on Twitter, podcasts, and at conferences — but we should remember something important.

Customers don’t actually care about how we build our products, or our process.

Customers do not care about our Slack debates, our Jira tickets, or the compromises we make to our roadmaps along the way.

Customers only care about how our products feel in their hands, and nothing else.

That moment when customers first open our apps and escape their reality for a few minutes as they discover something new — that is the moment that matters if you build products.

We need to focus less on glorifying the process for everything we ‘product people’ do and focus more on what actually matters.

What matters is that we build products that make customers smile and realize something new about themselves.

What matters is that we build products that make life more fulfilling for billions of people by giving them access to education and new ideas.

What matters is that we build products which make customers say: I honestly can’t imagine my life before I downloaded that app.

We Product Managers spend our days writing specs, filing Jira tickets, and editing roadmaps. Process. Process. Process.

What else could we have created instead of that perfect Gantt chart?

Are there easy wins in our production apps that we could have discovered instead of seeking the perfect process?

Can we think less about our perfect Product Manager workflows and think more about simplifying our products?

Our job is to delight customers through the projects we build. Process is important, but do not forget that customers judge us on one thing.

The product.

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