Product Management Tactics — Product Managers Can Build Just About Anything We Want

Ash Maurya, Founder at LEANSTACK KEY TAKEAWAY The real question is not CAN we build it but SHOULD we do it. We all have limited resources. If you build something your customer is not interested in or you charge the wrong amount for it, your…

Ash Maurya, Founder at LEANSTACK

KEY TAKEAWAY

The real question is not CAN we build it but SHOULD we do it. We all have limited resources. If you build something your customer is not interested in or you charge the wrong amount for it, your business plans fall apart.

OUR TAKE

Twenty years ago — web technologies were fairly limited in terms of what was possible… at least compared to today.  If you were building a website, you likely needed several specialists who were adept at very specific types of technologies in order to see your vision turn into reality.  But today, things are different. Most business concepts could have at least a rudimentary landing page or MVP spun up very quickly… sometimes by somebody who isn’t even technical.  For established businesses, it used to be the case that products that get dreamt up couldn’t be realized because it wasn’t technically possible. But today? Nearly anything is possible.

Not sure this is true?  Think of the last time you approached your software development team to discuss a new feature — and they told you that it absolutely, positively, could not be created.  It just wasn’t possible.  

For many of us, the above scenario isn’t very common.  For us at Product Collective, it’s actually never happened.  All product and feature ideas that we’ve been involved in have at least seemed possible.  Yet, with those ideas came tradeoffs.  In some cases, executing one specific idea may be possible, but it would take the entire team’s effort for an incredibly long stretch, thus extending out the product roadmap that everybody already agreed was important.

For most product teams, the big question isn’t whether something is possible.  It’s whether we should create that very something in the first place.  

We, as product people, have to ask ourselves questions like:

  • Does this product actually solve the problems we believe our customers have?  
  • Will this feature actually make a difference to our business?  
  • Can we sell this?

Ash Maurya talks about “Loving the Problem” because the more that we understand the problem, the more likely it is that we’ll have a sense of whether we should focus a significant amount of our team’s time towards a specific concept.  Because, again — that concept likely can be created. But… should it be?

MORE READING

Seek ‘no’ during product validation. When seeking validation, it’s natural to desire a positive response. Avoid this impulse, says Ryan Frederick, and structure your questions so as to give people the permission to provide negative responses. The result will be honest, more valuable feedback.

Product Validation. A lengthy Product Requirements Document (PRD) is a dangerous thing. It contains a considerable amount of work to be completed and it is trusted that the creator has confidence in its contents. Marty Cagan insists that it’s incumbent on the product team to validate the feasibility of the project and the usability and desirability of the product.
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.