Product Heroes Wiki

Sharp, short, and actionable tips on Product-oriented questions.

PRODUCT

How to create a strong team of Product-oriented people?

Assess the current maturity of the whole company. Maybe it’s not yet the right time to build a complete, perfect Product team.

It might be better to go step by step, with what will bring more value to the company in its current state.

For example, if Product Manager is a new role in the company, throwing a complete team of 10 Product Managers asking questions and prioritizing everything might not be the best solution.

Positioning Product Managers can be a challenge, but it’s actually pretty simple: they are responsible to understand the problem to solve. This should be shared with the entire organization.

If it’s not possible yet, just making happen silently. Make the Product Managers focus on understanding the problems and the users better than anyone else.

Let them go around the company, asking simple questions, talking to customers.

When they will have all this knowledge, from multiple other teams and the user themselves, they will become natural Product leaders – no need to convince anyone anymore

How Data teams can help the Product team on its mission?

Everything in Data is about asking questions. However, all the questions are not created equal. Maybe there is not enough data to answer the question yet, it’s just not the right time.

Data teams can help to determine if it’s the right moment to ask a question. It can (and should) also help to define when it is the right moment to ask the question.

Sometimes, the question itself is not even relevant. The Data team can definitely help to highlight when the answer won’t bring that much value in a decision-making process.

 

We might consider every question to a Data team as a feature.

Most of the time, Data teams are flooded with questions. So these teams should come up with actual solutions to stay efficient.

By seeing questions as features, the Data team will enable itself to do two things:

  1. Prioritizing questions. So the whole organization can ensure that we are focusing on the questions that will bring the most value.
  2. Build a repeatable way to answer questions. Answers won’t be one-shot only. When a question is answered, it can be answered again, in a quick and efficient (even better, self-served) way another time.

How to leverage the knowledge of the Data team?

People always have 3 mains biases:
1) People fall in love with their own ideas
2) People generalize their own problems
3) There is a gap between what people say they want and what they actually want.

Data can help to detect and highlight these biases. Data can prove a point, but it can also disprove it – showing that a bias was probably involved.

Using the time and expertise of a Data team to build a complete data pipeline for every KPI might not be the best idea.

There is a simple decision process we can use here. The question is: “How often do we need this data?”.

1) Daily / very often
Really? Are we sure? Are we really going to look at the weekly unique visitors every day?
If not, see point (2).
If we are, build a dashboard!

2) Less often
Build a way to grab the data in an ad-hoc way. There is probably a simpler and cheapest way to quickly grab the data than building a data pipeline and maintaining a dashboard.

An example?
Sure: a SQL query, a CSV export, and an easy copy/paste in a spreadsheet building a graph enough. Take 15min maximum, maintenance is easy, can be done when it’s needed.

How do you create a successful product strategy?

Creating a successful Product is about helping the users effectively.

To validate the value the product is bringing to the users, we should always have in our strategy:
(1) short iterations – in order to be able to react quickly to discoveries and learnings.
(2) user interviews – interviewing is crucial. It’s the only way to gather real feedback, quickly and efficiently. NPS is a measure, direct feedback is the real deal.

Meeting deadlines is secondary compared to delivering real value. Following an established plan is paving the path to forgetting the reality of the users.

A Product exists to solve a problem the users are having. The entire strategy should revolve around solving that problem.

Understanding and refining this comprehension regularly is a key factor of a product’s success.

This knowledge should be shared as much as possible so that everyone in the company can have the same understanding, and learn from each other.

Without a clear understanding of the “Why?” prioritizing efficiently is almost impossible, as there are no clear criteria on what is the most useful for the users.

Success is real only if we measure it.

By having metrics in place, we will be able to review them regularly and update our strategy very quickly if things are not going in the direction we were planning.

By setting clear goals, and sharing them across the company, will empower the teams to make better decisions.

There is a lot of frameworks out there to set up goals and metrics (like OKR) but the tool does not really matter. We should ensure that we have clear goals and metrics, commonly understood, so that everyone is working in the same direction.

What to do if I identify a high-value problem, not prioritized?

Refocus on what does it means “this problem is high value”? High value to who?

If it’s “monetary high value”, we can easily bet it’s aligning with the business vision…

If it’s something different than that, we will have to find a creative way to validate our assumptions.

We should frame our idea in a way that is allowing us to secure just a little bit of budget to test it out.
We should avoid spending a super huge budget on an idea – that’s still just an idea for now.

We can do a super small 1-week run to get a prototype, mock-ups so we can test it out.

This way, we can validate if we’re the only one thinking it’s a high-value idea or if it’s real.

What’s the best way to go about managing competing stakeholder agendas?

In other words, when you have two major stakeholders with two very different ideas of your product (execution vs strategy), how do you go about managing their expectations?

Is it supported by data, feedbacks, time spent with the target audience… or just very personal assumptions?

All the stakeholders need to know the impact of choosing one over the other.

The impact needs to be quantified in different dimensions— Resource, business, customer experience. Of course, this is dependent on how much time you have to do this.

Once identified the real problem, is it a data-backed problem or just a hypothesis.

If you can go creative with the solution by proposing workarounds – ideally small chunks of work to validate whether the problem is real.

 

It is also easier to rally people over a small step (a short term objective) than one big vision.

How can I improve the user experience of my product?

Sometimes, we cannot speak to customers that much – or it’s hard to empathize.

For example, when we are creating a Product for people building platforms in the middle of the ocean. The probability of having a software Product team on this platform is very very low… 🙂

Customer Support teams are really connected to users and are also facing their emotions.

Having recurrent, even very informal, touchpoints with Customer Support teams will help create a stronger empathy in the organization.

We don’t always need to validate with thousands of customers.

Get outside and ask your questions to random customers walking by your company.

Create an anonymous account on a forum, ask your question there, and see the answers.
Find your persona and have informal discussions with them.

There are ways of talking to customers without creating a complicated and long process to do so.

Having empathy for users is not reserved just for Designers and Product Managers.

The entire team will create way better products by developing a strong sense of empathy for their users.

Bring developers, data analysts, or any other profiles when running user interviews is one of the best ways to create this.

We don’t need (and should not…) bring the entire organization every time we interview a user.

But we should ensure that everyone has access to chatting with customers at some point, for real! Not just videos or transcripts of interviews.

We should all have human, face-to-face interactions with our users.

How to connect with end-user experience?

User Experience can be pretty hard to get perfect in one shot. The best way to succeed here is to formulate a hypothesis, then quickly create a prototype of what could be an improvement.

Quickly is the keyword here, avoid spending months on it.

Then test the prototype with real users. You might validate your hypothesis, or invalidate it. Maybe the UX was already good – so you don’t really need to improve it. Maybe the problem is somewhere else, and the users will let you know. Maybe the prototype is not perfect yet, and you can quickly iterate on it.

Collaboration

What to do when Product Management, Design, and Development teams are misaligned?

Most of the time, there is no real misalignment.

There is a lack of clear communication or understanding on the problem to solve. Because of this situation, the teams’ priorities are not (yet) aligned.

By refocusing the discussions on the problem to solve, the priorities will probably shift to align in a better way.

When priorities are aligned, solutions just flow naturally.

People fall in love with their own ideas. We all do that.

We should keep that in mind during the discussions, specifically to avoid to things:

1) Letting our ego talk for us. We have our bias, we expect others to be smart and avoid standing on an idea just because of their egos, so we should avoid it as well.

2) Avoiding hurt egos. We know emotions will be involved. We could just slowly and peacefully focus the discussion on more rational data – and avoiding criticizing feelings and emotions that are valid.

How to align my stakeholders?

Stakeholders are, most of the time, people struggling with an impressive amount of problems. To gain alignment here, you have to avoid to be another problem: you want to be perceived as solution creators.

Acknowledge their own objectives – they might greatly differ from yours. If there are any opposed objectives, state them so that you can propose an “in-between” solution.

Clear and focused communication is key. Stakeholders receive a lot of information. Use empathy again here: focus your communication on what they need to know, and avoid adding unnecessary details. (No, your VP does not need to know that GitHub is going to be down for 2 hours – especially as you found a way to avoid impact on the roadmap!).

How to convince on a decision or an idea?

There is a lot of personal biases involved in every discussion. Focusing on convincing imply that we are not aware of our own biases.

Co-building is achieved by allowing everyone to have the same set of data.

Share user interviews, feedback, metrics…

All this will allow everyone to have the same vision, and make an informed decision.

It’s very rare to find a bad idea.

The topic is about the timing of the idea, and whether or not it fits with the business vision.

There is two main focuses to highlight that an idea is valid:

  1. Make our homework: package market data, user feedback, etc… in the best possible way. We should avoid a simple “gut feeling” presentation at all costs.
  2. Zooming in on a real proven user’s pain point (like real user feedback, real customer complaints/review…). Most of the time, it will create a “click” in people’s minds. Extracting a verbose customer complaint, feedback… screen grabbing it, and pulling it up in front of people.

It will create a feeling that this is not just a row in Jira, it’s an actual thing happening on the market.

How to collaborate with a Project Manager?

Project Managers are experts in creating and executing plans. Project Managers will want to have this understanding of the milestones and the available people to execute a project.

With these details, they will be the best people to come back with a realistic plan. In an Agile approach, we should help them to understand the steps and iterations so that they can plan effectively while staying ready to adapt to change.

If you are a Product Manager, your roles will overlap a little: acknowledge the situation with them to avoid any confusion.

CAREER

How to train in Product Management?

The best way to train yourself to be effective in Product Management is by focusing on the mindset. Tools like Jira, Aha!, Miro… are good to know for sure. But if you don’t have the right mindset, they won’t help your product to be better.

Mindset is about being focused on users, knowing how to manage expectations, understanding how to influence without power. The best way to get this mindset is by actually practicing and/or being coached by experts.

Luckily, Linky Product can help you with that 🦸‍♂️ Check out our online Bootcamp, online courses, and 1:1 coaching sessions here: https://www.linkyproduct.com

What are the soft skills of a good PM?

Product Managers need empathy. To understand their users, then to understand their stakeholders.

They also need leadership. To influence the organization, to lead and inspire the teams around them to follow their vision. They need courage! They are going to make tough decisions. They are inevitable and it’s thanks to these decisions that the product will be successful.

Finally, they need organization. Product Managers are living in a world of constant chaos and are organizing this chaos. They have to be able and to enjoy organizing chaos.

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