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How we think about product: introducing the Quit Genius product principles

Life in the Product Team at Quit Genius can be fast-moving and incredibly varied. The types of challenges we’re tackling include reimagining addiction treatment with a digital-first model; integrating into a highly complex and fragmented US healthcare system; empowering a clinical network of licensed healthcare professionals nationwide; addressing the stigma around addiction to increase participation in treatment, and the list goes on.

With the scale of our ambitions and the nature of the space in which we operate, it’s important that, as we continue to bring great people into the team, we equip them with the right tools to make good decisions. We already have a clear company mission, an OKR framework, and a product strategy — all of which play a role; but none of these provides a more generally applicable framework for decision-making across such varied topics — that’s where product principles come in.

There are lots of different definitions of product principles out there, but I like to think of them as the few key things that you wish to define your team’s approach to product. They should be general enough to apply to all types of product decisions, but specific enough that a new member of the team could meaningfully use them to inform their approach.

So without further ado, here are the initial product principles we’ve agreed upon:

  1. Built by people, for people
    Be compassionate. Never lose touch with the people we’re building for.
  2. Strive for better
    We’re here to reimagine, not to replicate.
  3. Think big, start small
    Go deep on big topics, then tackle manageable chunks.

The first of these really emphasizes the importance of putting our members at the centre of our decision-making. It can be easy to get lost in a world of tickets, story points, and product jargon, but at the end of the day, it’s all in service of our members and our desire to provide the best possible outcomes.

The second reflects our mindset as a disruptor. In our case, simply digitizing certain things that already exist in other treatment settings is already an improvement, but that’s not enough; the failings of the system today require us to think from first principles and to reimagine what the experience could look like.

The third emphasizes that whilst we have really big aspirations, it’s important not to let perfection stand in the way of progress. If we’ve been rigorous in our product thinking and we’re clear on where we could get to in time, then we identify the achievable ways in which we can start to build momentum towards that.



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Seb Agertoft

Seb Agertoft

I build products for people dealing with addiction