If we think about how we develop (or should develop) products, there are certain macro-steps we usually go through. A high level overview may look like this:
- We define a product strategy and product goals that match the business/company objectives
- We define problems and who has those problems, usually through research activities
- We define the right solution through discovery techniques
- We prioritize based on our goals and maximizing value
- We execute and develop the product, delivering customer value in small iterations
During the last 8 years I have been working with product teams as they mature the way they develop products.
And a common pattern is that we start developing our techniques and skills in the reverse order:
- First we move away from waterfall towards a more agile and “sliced” approach to delivering value.
- Then we improve prioritization with data-driven techniques, start saying no to stakeholders and avoid HIPPO decision making
- Later we start thinking about how we can build a solution that improves the impact of the initiative, and start working with prototypes and contacting users
- Afterwards we get more comfortable interacting with users and we move to deeper research techniques that help us understand the problem better.
- Finally that understanding of the user, the problem, the industry, let us became more strategic thinkers.
I feel in some sense this is a normal emerging pattern. We start from what is closer to what we know and closer to what we can master, and when we nail that down we find that there is a better way to improve the impact we achieve by moving one step “up” in the process.
Of course this are not the same “steps” in every company or team, but if you are leading product teams I would say that your job is to make the team grow and mature in tiny bits but in the 5 steps at the same time.
Having a strategy, although a basic one will improve the chances of having successful products much more than being great at execution. Doing some discovery techniques are an invaluable input to improve the accuracy of your prioritization.
I would love your comments! And if you enjoyed it, why not a little clap :)
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