09.08.2020 |

Episode #10 of the course Product management toolkit by Rich Headley


Welcome to lesson ten. While there’s plenty more you need to learn to become a world-class product manager, the tools covered in this course are excellent ways for you to elevate your effectiveness across the whole product development lifecycle.

You need to always be cognizant of your user and customer personas’ pains, which gains they’re looking for, and the jobs they’re looking to be done that they could hire your product to do.

Less is more, especially in an environment where you need to be persuasive with executives and other stakeholders who don’t have long attention spans, which is why it’s important to crisply distill your idea into a value hypothesis. In about 30 seconds, you’ll be able to cover the persona, their pain, what they’re doing when they experience that pain, your proposed solution, the value your solution will bring to the persona, limitations of that solution, competitive differentiation, and how your solution will bring value to your own company.

You can use the Kano model to make sure you’ve got a good blend of basic expectations, satisfiers, and delighters in your product. Cover the table stakes requirements, solve the core problems, and along the way, provide something unique that makes users happy.

Think about how to make a habit-forming product that creates a virtuous cycle of engagement. External Triggers lead to actions. Actions lead to rewards. Rewards inspire further investment in the product. And, if you got it right, eventually the loop will happen enough that external triggers are no longer needed: internal triggers cause the user to return to your product again and again.

When you need to prioritize a long list of feature options, use the RICE method. Understand the reach your ideas have, what impact they will have on those users, how much effort it will take to create that value, and how confident you are in your assumptions. Ideas with generally higher reach and impact, with relatively lower effort, are the ones you should consider doing first.

When you need to solve a tough design problem, do a Google design sprint. Get a cross-functional mix of experts into a room, arm them with pens, sticky notes, and whiteboard markers, and follow the process to come up with a user-validated solution all sprint participants can stand behind because they helped to create it.

When prototyping and user testing, think about the modality and fidelity of your prototype. Remember that modality is the method you use to deliver it, such as getting 1-on-1 live feedback or getting asynchronously gathered testing from many people on Remember that fidelity is the level of realism you put into your prototype. For quick results, stick to paper sketches or a mockup. For a more realistic product experience, create a clickable prototype or actual working code.

When analyzing your data, think about which type of analytics you need. Descriptive analytics tells you what’s happening. Diagnostic tells you why. Predictive tells you what will happen in the future, and Prescriptive tells you how you can affect the future with your actions.

Lastly, make sure your user stories have all the right ingredients. Start with a clear statement that covers the persona, the situation they’re in, the action they’ll take, and the job to be done or the value they would want from the product. Make sure you’ve got good acceptance criteria and the story isn’t too long or complex. Break it down into the smallest, independently testable pieces of value that you can deliver, and make it clear to your team what outcomes you’re looking for.

I hope this course has been helpful. You’ve probably come across many of the principles covered here, so consider this a good review. And if some of the material was new to you, go back and do those lessons again in a few days. Most importantly, if you’re already a product manager, try to apply what you’ve learned at work. And if you’ aren’t a PM, but want to be one or are in a similar role, you can still practice these things. I’ve seen plenty of people get product jobs without product experience because they have proven that they can learn great techniques and apply them to solve real problems and provide real value.


Recommended reading

The Art of Product Management by Rich Mironov

The Product Book by Josh Anon with Carlos González de Villaumbrosia


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