Posts made in October, 2016

Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love

Posted on Oct 14, 2016 in Books | 0 comments

inspiredlgLong time since a book review, eh? I might get back to it. I make tons of highlights when e-reading that I never get back to/review and therefore I get little out of. Recalling my school days, rereading my notes one extra time made them sink in way better – this is more for me than you.

Background: I moved from QA to Product Management about a year ago. Our teams were growing, I had a lot of product knowledge, I’m pretty decent at communicating, my background had me thinking of the customer already… It was a pretty natural fit. Still learning a lot, messing up a little, and enjoying it. If nothing else, it’s been great to have an opportunity to get out of QA – I was feeling a bit pigeonholed there and am no more.

Anyway, one of the best ways to learn this new role is through reading. I’ve reviewed a couple of design books on here before, but I’ve also read a lot more that I’ve not added. GETTING BACK TO IT STARTING NOW.

I discovered this book through a list of recommendations at work, which have been hit and miss. I’d call this one by Marty Cagan a hit and would definitely recommended it. There’s a strong focus on internet service products and consumers, but a lot of it crosses product and customer types.

My Highlights:

  • The job of the product manager is to discover a product that is valuable, usable, and feasible.
  • Engineers are typically very poor at user experience design—engineers think in terms of implementation models.
  • The job of the product manager is to identify the minimal possible product that meets the objectives.
  • The product manager has two key responsibilities: assessing product opportunities, and defining the product to be built.
  • Your mission as the product manager during the implementation phase is to jump on their questions and get answers as fast as humanly possible.
  • It’s all about the team and the caliber of the individuals.
  • Everything begins with the right product team.
  • If you neglect the infrastructure, all software will reach the point where it can no longer support the functionality it needs to.
  • The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
  • It can be dangerous for a product manager to have too much domain expertise.
  • Every new product manager needs roughly three months of hard learning before you can entrust them with the responsibility of guiding a product. During this time, the new product manager needs to immerse herself with target users and customers.
  • If you micromanage your product managers, they will not step up and take ownership the way you need them to.
  • Always hire people that you believe are smarter than yourself.
  • “Specials” (doing explicitly-defined work for a specific customer typically in exchange for their agreement to purchase your product) are so dangerous. They represent bad revenue, and hurt your company’s ability to deliver products that create happy users.
  • The more latitude you can give your engineers and user experience designers in coming up with the solutions to the problems you are trying to solve, the more likely they will come up with something that customers will love.
  • Most managers prefer to see your recommendations on how to solve problems you encounter rather than just a statement of the problem.
  • Every member of the team should be able to see the goals and objectives you are using, their priority, and how you assess each option. The decision—and the reasoning behind how you got there—should be clear to all.
  • Your goal is to [have] at least six happy, live, referenceable customers from your target market.
  • Customer surveys are so easy and so inexpensive, that they’re a must-do for any product.
  • Winning products come from the deep understanding of the user’s needs combined with an equally deep understanding of what’s just now possible.
  • It is an extremely common mistake for a product to try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one.
  • Any startup has to realize that everything starts with the right product, so the first order of business is to figure out what that is.
  • In many cases, the best ideas come from the bottom up.
  • Innovation is rarely about solving an entirely new problem. More often it is solving an existing problem in a new way.
  • [Product managers should] focus on the most miserable thing people have to deal with everyday.