Product Management Tactics — Continually Innovate

Ash Maurya, Founder at LEANSTACK KEY TAKEAWAY Use continuous innovation and qualitative validation to get feedback. By using metrics, Maurya can confirm the builds are actually working. LEANSTACK have a continuous conversation with a few customers. They talk about upcoming releases, showing screenshots and giving…

Ash Maurya, Founder at LEANSTACK

KEY TAKEAWAY

Use continuous innovation and qualitative validation to get feedback. By using metrics, Maurya can confirm the builds are actually working. LEANSTACK have a continuous conversation with a few customers. They talk about upcoming releases, showing screenshots and giving access to early builds. All the while, they receive feedback as they work toward the final product.

OUR TAKE

Throughout this video with Ash Maurya, he’s made it clear why focusing on the solution too early can be an issue that product managers and entrepreneurs should be careful about. Of course, eventually though — you do have to end up with a solution. But, how do you know if that solution is working the way we intended when our teams built it? Once the design/UX and software development teams complete the product… are we done?

Of course not. Our job shifts from confirming the problem to identifying the solution to validating the solution. Yet, if we wait to validate until the product is actually ready to be used… it’s likely too late. As product people, validation is a constant process.

Qualitative Validation starts when we start working on the solution. Initial prototypes and mockups are opportunities to get feedback from customers as the solution is actually being created. If we wait until “it’s ready” — it’s too late. After all, what if there are core issues that we weren’t anticipating? What if it ultimately isn’t solving the problems we were intending to solve? This process should be a constant and iterative process. While customer interviews might seem like they wouldn’t provide enough concrete feedback for us to be confident in, you may be surprised. According to Ash, sometimes all it takes is

Quantitative Validation can happen once our product is actually being used. Ash Maurya mentions Amplitude, and other product people use platforms like that — as well as Pendo, Aptrinsic, Logi Analytics, Mixpanel, and so many other platforms — to track product usage. Of course, it’s important to figure out what metrics are actually important in order to gauge whether our product is actually making an impact?

Which is more important? Of course, both have their place. But the quantitative validation can only be helpful if we’ve created the right product. Those metrics can help guide us to tweak and adjust. But the qualitative feedback can help us make critical decisions about how we’ll build and shape our core product/feature in the first place.

Regardless, it’s important to seek out this validation even after you feel comfortable about what the core problem actually is and how you plan to solve it.

Paul McAvinchey
Paul McAvinchey
paul@productcollective.com

For over 15 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a 15,000+ strong worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on Slack, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Lunch and get a weekly brief that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.