Better decision making

I stumbled across a post about better decision making for product managers. It encourages to pose three questions for each decision with larger (expected) impact:

  1. Imagine that the option you’re currently leaning toward simply vanished as a feasible alternative. What else could you do?
  2. Imagine that the alternative you are currently considering will actually turn out to be a terrible decision. Where could you go looking for the proof of that right now?
  3. Six months from now, what evidence would make you change your mind about the choice you’ve made? What would make you double-down?

Read the explanations in the full post “How to avoid the curse of knowledge“.

 

Addendum: I have created a resource stash for all things related to Software Product Management!

Users do not want to learn how to use your product

As a product manager, you might be tempted to assume that users want to learn how to use your product. You provide loads of documentation, a hotline, and a lot of other help for the inquiring user.

However, user are usually not as excited about your cool and fancy product like you are. They have a goal in mind and just want to reach it. If your tool is the right one, fine. If not, they will eventually choose another one (e.g. when it is too complicated to understand).

User action requires three things:

  • Necessary motivation
  • Sufficient ability
  • Effective triggers

Learn here how to provide these three requirements here.

 

Addendum: I have created a resource stash for all things related to Software Product Management!

Why startups fail

Many startups fail, and now there is a study showing why they fail. Interestingly, I see two reasons on top:

  • Business model not viable
  • Money issues

The money issues are of diverse nature, though money seems to play a major role when startups fail. It is more of a concern, though, that the business model is a major reason for failure, because that could have been anticipated beforehand in most cases.

Read the full analysis here.

When to say YES to a Feature Request

Last week, I linked a very good post about how to say NO to a feature request. But then, when should you say YES to a feature request? There are a couple of questions to answer:

  • Does it fit your vision?
  • Will it still matter in 5 years?
  • Will everyone benefit from it?
  • Will it improve, complement or innovate on the  existing workflow?
  • Does it grow the business?
  • Will it generate new meaningful engagement?
  • If it succeeds, can we support & afford it?
  • Can we design it so that reward is greater than effort?
  • Can we do it well?
  • Can we scope it well?

I especially like to way to look on long-term cost.

Future with no apps

Donny Reynolds points out that apps on mobile phones have two major drawback: discoverability and delivery. Both aspects are possible setbacks to individual apps’ success and to the platform’s success as a whole.

The proposed solution is to provide streamed apps on demand.

But wait – isn’t that websites?

Hiring product managers for product management experience

There has been a discussion about whether to hire product managers that have product management experience or to hire product managers that explicitly do not have this experience. This article highlights the arguments in favour of PM experience:

  • Good (great) product managers bring a critical mix of technical talent, business insight and market/customer/user insight
  • Even startups have product experience, even if there is no dedicated PM role
  • Subject matter experts have no PM skills
  • Product management is harder than you might think
  • “A weekend at the dude ranch doesn’t make you a cowboy.”

Moving from early stage to growth stage

Yerrie Kim speaks about how to act as a product manager in the early stage of product development and how to act in the growth stage of product development. She highlights the dimensions Technology, Customers and Team.

There is pretty much insight in the speech, but the difficult thing would be to realise when to move on from early phase to growth phase. This is not a sudden change but rather an evolution.

Product Management for the Enterprise

Most of the many articles I link do not mention the difference between managing consumer products and enterprise products. There are, however, severe differences, mostly regarding

  • the business model
  • buyer of the product (in enterprises the buyer is usually not the user)
  • innovation (do NOT move fast and break things)

Read the article Product Manager for the Enterprise here.

Benefit-driven Metrics

Are you measuring the right metrics of your product? This is a question posed in the essay Benefit-Driven Metrics: Measure the lives you save, not the life preservers you sell. It claims that you should measure the customer benefits instead of internal operating metrics.

I agree to a certain extent. It depends on your business model what you measure. If your users pays you, measure user satisfaction. If you sell the data, user satisfaction is a means to reach your business goals, but not the goal itself.