5 Key Concepts for Better Product Management

Author: Stefan Stalgren Aug 8, 2015 Posted in: Blog > News

product management, ideasA search on Product Management returns prolific results. We scanned some of the most recent posts and found these ideas worth sharing.

1. Say ‘No’ to Random Product Ideas

Brian de Haaff writes “How to Say No to Your CEO’s Random Product Ideas” on the General Assembly blog (7/28/2015).

Some highlights:

  • “Ideas for new features should always roll up to your strategy and goals. If they will not enhance your product and business, then they should not have a home on your roadmap.”
  • “The reality is that you are a CEO too—the CEO of your product. You have every right to reject new ideas that do not add value.”

He provides this three-step process for responding to “idea fatigue.”

  • Goal first. “A goal first approach is about defining your vision and making sure everyone understands it. If you do this, then your strategy can say ‘No’ for you.”
  • Score ideas. “Ideas come in from lots of different places. These include customers, sales, marketing, and even your CEO. All of these ideas are not created equal. Some might be great enhancements that will grow the business. Others might be duds. You should rank features and prioritize the ones that will have the greatest impact on the product and the company.”
  • Share your roadmap. Avoid working in disconnected silos to ensure that everyone is “on the same page and working towards the same goals and initiatives.”

2) Evaluate and Prioritize Ideas

More wisdom for handling idea overload comes from the Aha! blog (8/4/2015).

“Know what separates your product from others, gather customer feedback continually, and learn to prioritize,” writes guest author Steve Johnson. Here’s how:

  • Are vendors building innovative products or are they just copying what others are doing? Knowing what customers are looking for is one of the keys to screening the viable ideas from the others.
  • Spend time with customers in order to deeply understand their requirements,” Johnson writes. “Make a commitment to call or visit at least one customer a week … you will soon be armed with great information about what your customers truly value.” In addition, he advises tapping your product support team to learn what they hear from their daily interactions with customers.
  • Get really good at prioritizing,” Johnson advises … “rank ideas based on value to your customers and your company.

“Focus on collective needs when reviewing each release, but prioritize based on what will have the biggest impact. Combining key feedback from clients, teams, and stakeholders alike and vetting it against where your product is headed is key to building great products.”

3) Start with What Your Customers Really Need 

These tips for building successful products come from Thibault Lemaitre on  the Nalpeiron blog (8/4/2015):

“There are hundreds of new products launched every day which only serve to follow the latest trends, instead of focusing on real problems. By understanding the pain points of your users, you too, can build great successful products.”

product managementLemaitre shares this recommendation he found on the Mind the Product community: Start by adopting a customer-centric approach. From there … dig deeper and understand what is really causing the problem for your potential customers. This will help you come up with the real solution.

Once you have a better idea of how to fix this problem, you can then focus on building your minimum viable product, and present your early version to your users.

By focusing on the problem experienced by your customers as your first step, your product is much more likely to be successful and used by your core audience, simply because you were trying to solve their problem all along.”

4) Manufacture Desire

Author Nir Eyal shares ideas on how to take ‘success’ to the next level in a post on User Testing (7/27/1015). Eyal is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

“A company that forms strong user habits enjoys several benefits to its bottom line. For one, this type of company creates associations with ‘internal triggers’ in users’ minds,” he writes.

How is this done? “They manufacture desire.” Take a look at his post to learn more about triggers, action and rewards.

Could this take the role of product manager to a new level?

5) Understand Your Critical Role in Bringing Products to Market

Highlights from the “Product Manager Manifesto” shared by

  • “In the course of managing my products there are thousands of small decisions that must be made and tasks that must be accomplished. The sum of these can add up to a phenomenal product. I choose to own the responsibility for making this happen”
  • “I have a strong vision for my products, and develop winning strategies that align with my company’s goals and ensure that our investments of time, money and energy are well‐spent.”
  • “I am the voice of my customers, and represent them in every critical decision that is made.”

Visit the site to read the full manifesto describing the product manager’s role.