What is the most important problem that our customers, or the people we want to sell to, are having – that we can solve?
This is the fundamental question we PMs have to keep asking ourselves (and our customers/market).
Ideally what we’d do is prioritize solving that problem. And then, if we have capacity left over, we ask, “what’s the second most important problem that our customers, or the people we want to sell to, are having – that we can solve?”
And then we prioritize solving that second problem. We keep doing this until we run out of resources.
Then we do it all again.
There are of course lots more details – how much of that #1 problem do we solve? Do we get it to MVP state? To V1.0 state? To highly polished state? The answer to this question depends on a few things:
- How we will use this solution to sell
- How we will use this solution to differentiate
- How hard it is to get from MVP to the next level, or the one after that
- Whether the MVP is actually “marketable”
- If a competitor has set a bar on how much functionality is needed
It’s hard to live with this approach on a day-to-day basis, but it’s really what we should be doing.
And the roadmap is then just a list of the problems we’ll be solving over time. (Subject to change, of course, as the problems customers face change.)
In this podcast I talk about a problem that afflicts many product companies – poor communication between product management and developers. And I describe an approach that can help improve the communication, and improve everyone’s motivation – a new rubric for writing good requirements which I call VALUABLE. That’s an acronym for: Valuable, Aligned, Loved, Understood, Acceptance tests, Bounded, Leverages, and Expected Usage. It will all become clear when you listen to the podcast – or download the infographic.
The infographic I mention in the podcast is here – please feel free to download it and print it out and put it up on your wall. Or whatever you want to do with it.
In the podcast I mentioned a number of earlier posts, a book, and some useful posts on other peoples’ blogs.
- You can find Scott Selhorst’s Big 10 Rules For Writing Good Requirements on his excellent blog Tyner-Blain.
- Dan Pink’s Drive book is terrific. Kathy Sierra says “It’s the best summary of self-determination theory,” by which she means “It explains a ton of how and why we act the way we do, including what really motivates us to do stuff.” (By the way, you cannot go wrong watching this Kathy Sierra talk from the 2012 Business Of Software Conference – I recommend it constantly.)
- I wrote recently about the product management lexicon and why it’s time to rethink a lot of the words we’re using, often because we’ve just inherited them from “IT” – Information Technology – and while they sound like they apply to product management, they really don’t.
- One of my favorite techniques for quality requirements is the “Impact Areas” concept, which should be part of the table of contents of your requirements.
- Templates and other guides are covered in the extract from the first chapter of my (in-progress, not-yet-finished) book.
- My thinking about how interesting things – that is, new product capabilities that provide significant value to customers – are usually not estimatable, even if we are confident that they are “attainable,” to use Scott Selhorst’s phrase.
If you like this podcast, please subscribe via iTunes (search for “responsibility authority” to find the listing) or your favorite subscription method via this feed. And please consider rating and reviewing the podcast on iTunes. The feedback is very helpful for me.
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As a product manager, one of your most precious resources is your “cognitive storage tank.” It’s like a real fuel tank – when it’s exhausted, your cognitive abilities stop working well. And when that happens, it means you can’t be as innovative, you can’t be as creative, and your decisions get worse. To improve our effectiveness as product managers, one key step is managing the cognitive storage tank.
In this podcast I describe some techniques and tools for eliminating wasteful leaks from your storage tank – I hope the ideas will be helpful for you as you improve your effectiveness as a product manager.
Let me know in the comments on the show notes if you have additional thoughts or questions.
If you like this podcast, please subscribe via iTunes (you can search for “responsibility authority” to find the listing) or your favorite subscription method via this feed. And please consider rating and reviewing the podcast on iTunes. The feedback is very helpful for me.
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