The famous quote from Steve Jobs says, “Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.” He couldn’t be more right. Design is massively important at an aesthetic, as well as a functional level.
A product team should work backwards from the user's goal. It should focus on solving complexities on the back-end, in order to make things incredibly easy on the front-end. Minimalism is beautiful and simplicity wins.
Simple. Lay forth the goals and features that allow you to attain the aforementioned strategy. Write the requirements for those and, based on time and resources, execute them with your team.
There will be edge cases that come up along the way, and it’s important to work with the dev team to iron those out together. Get their input, see what they think, but ultimately be the decider. Make a neutral decision. Whatever is best for the product.
This is huge, and yet, understated. It is kind of assumed that a product team will ship, but that’s not true. It’s crucial to set a release date because it truly reinforces all of the above. When there’s a deadline, suddenly it becomes easier to prioritize the backlog… what is really needed for version 1? The team focuses and creates realistic estimates they can deliver on.
Ultimately, it’s your job to get the product to your users. Speed counts. Build fast, release quickly, and…
9) Test & Measure.
Building fast and releasing quickly is only valuable if you’re measuring the results. One form of measuring is what I alluded to earlier. What are your users saying? How are they responding to new features?
However, it’s essential to measure not only what they say, but what they do. How do they respond to a specific screen? Are they doing what you hoped? Does a change in copy or design influence their behavior? Test. Measure. And build accordingly.
10) Love what you build. Build what you love.
This ties into all of the above. You need to be passionate. You need to love it. Live it. Without that, there’s not much else. Without that, you won’t build anything great.
If the product is truly going to be your baby, then you need to love what it is. Yet, strive to make it better. Take joy in doing so. Place your name on it. Put your reputation on the line. Love what you build, and build what you love.
To me, that’s product management. That’s the epitome of the profession I love and live every day. Over time, I’ll continue to learn and get better at it. But these are the principles I will continue to guide myself by.
Back to work...