November 26

Iterating Products

10,000 lightbulbs that didn’t light up. 5,126 vacuum cleaner designs that didn’t suck – at least in the way that vacuum cleaners are supposed to. Both are extreme examples of iterating on products to get them right. You don’t have to try that many times to get your product right, but you should be willing to iterate at least a few times.

Launch mode vs iterate mode. Paul Adams shares the message he sent to his team after launching a new product. The gist of that message is Launching a product, and iterating a product, are two very different things and they require the team to think and operate in very different ways. The things that make a product team successful when launching a product are exactly the things that will make them fail after that product is launched.

(via @padday)

A straightforward guide to the process of iterating products. Aside from launching the product, the single most important process a product team uses to ensure success is measuring, learning, and tweaking the product. Christopher Bank explains that once your working product hits the market, its life becomes a sequence of iterations based on getting the right answers to the right questions. Do customers like my product? What could I add to make them happier to pay more? Are we even on track for long-term profitability?

(via @thenextweb)

How to plan iterations for a new product idea. The more iterations of your product you can work through the more chances you have of succeeding.Then again, endless iteration is hard to come by, no matter how big the company or the bank balance, so you need some sense of the number of iterations before you start to get your idea, feature, product, team or company funded appropriately. Scott Middleton aims to help you answer the question of how many iterations you need to make your product succeed. For the record, the answer is not 42.

(via @teremtech)

Design iteration brings powerful results. So, do it again designer!  Product iteration is a great way to gradually improve an existing product in a customer focused way. The folks at the The Interaction Design Foundation reminds us that you can also use iteration – iterative design in this case – to reach the best possible product for release to the market.

(via @interacting)

Iterating to an actionable outcome at tails.com.  Sonja Martin and her team at tails.com recognized that retention was critical, especially at the 90-day mark. But when they tried to use retention as their outcome, they discovered it was a little too broad to guide their day-to-day work. Melissa Suzuno tells the story of how Sonja and her team gradually refined and iterated on their outcome until they came up with a metric that was meaningful and actionable.

(via @ttorres)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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