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Right from the Start : From Failing Fast to Succeeding Sooner - Alan Albert at ProductCamp Portland 2020

What if you could truly know - right from the start of every product and feature - exactly what your customers care about most? Together we'll explore where iterative development works and where it doesn't. With stories from 25+ years of building products, I'll illustrate how understanding Customer Perception of Value can shortcut your path to success. You'll learn - and get to try out - new ways to discover what your customers will value most and how this insight will help you move every product and feature from failing fast to succeeding fast. Right from the Start : From Failing Fast to Succeeding Sooner An Interactive Presentation + Mini-Workshop Presented by Alan Albert, MarketFit at ProductCamp Portland, March 7 2020 For All Audiences from beginner to expert

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Right From The Start
From Failing Fast to Succeeding Sooner
Alan Albert

marketfit.com

alan@marketfit.com
linkedin.com/in/alanalbert

@a_albert

#values-first
What are our most difficult product challenges?
?
Your job is hard!
I expect my current efforts
will eventually succeed
will ultimately fail
The real problem
Most of the time, we fail
We fail a lot!
More than 80% fail
Startups
Products
Services
Features
Ad

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Right from the Start : From Failing Fast to Succeeding Sooner - Alan Albert at ProductCamp Portland 2020

  • 1. Right From The Start From Failing Fast to Succeeding Sooner Alan Albert marketfit.com alan@marketfit.com linkedin.com/in/alanalbert @a_albert #values-first
  • 2. What are our most difficult product challenges? ?
  • 3. Your job is hard!
  • 4. I expect my current efforts will eventually succeed will ultimately fail
  • 5. The real problem Most of the time, we fail
  • 6. We fail a lot! More than 80% fail Startups Products Services Features
  • 7. We’re not even aware we’re going to fail
  • 8. There’s a lot of waste More than $29B spent per year creating features used rarely or never Source: Pendo 2019 Feature Adoption Report
  • 9. We’ve got some serious problems to fix
  • 10. Product Creation Process The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle.com
  • 12. What’s wrong with how we do Discovery? Too much time to learn money to design and build Too few leading indicators signs we’re on the wrong track
  • 13. These are serious problems to fix
  • 14. The waste is here… The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle.com
  • 15. What if we could start here?
  • 16. What if instead of struggling with priorities… We all agreed on the same North Star?
  • 18. You may be thinking...
  • 19. This sounds a lot like waterfall
  • 20. It probably takes too long
  • 22. What if a different approach doesn’t work?
  • 23. Why am I calling for a new approach?
  • 25. I’ve been there…and failed, repeatedly $1B
  • 26. A story of failure
 
 [ mine ]
  • 27. “ You're going on an apology tour! ”
  • 28. Bugs? Missing features? Slow performance? Hard to use? Discovering where we went wrong
  • 29. Bugs? No Missing features? No Slow performance? No Hard to use? No Discovering where we went wrong
  • 30. What I learned… sparked the journey that led me here today
  • 31. Over the last several years, I’ve been exploring... Why so much waste and failure? How to fail less, succeed faster? What do successful teams do?
  • 32. You can achieve success, faster Once you gain tools and skills
  • 33. We’re on the cusp of another shift Toyota - Reduce Manufacturing Waste → Quality Agile - Reduce Coding Waste → Feedback Lean - Reduce Optimization Waste → Speed Toyota Manufacturing Waste Quality Agile Coding Waste Feedback Lean Optimization Waste Speed
  • 34. We’re on the cusp of another shift Toyota - Reduce Manufacturing Waste → Quality Agile - Reduce Coding Waste → Feedback Lean - Reduce Optimization Waste → Speed Toyota Manufacturing Waste Quality Agile Coding Waste Feedback Lean Optimization Waste Speed ??? Discovery Waste Success
  • 35. We have a choice
  • 37. How can we improve our 
 Product Creation process?
  • 38. Our current Product Creation process The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle.com
  • 40. Where do we spend most of our time? Discovery Optimization
  • 41. Where do we spend most of our time? Discovery Optimization
  • 42. We often never find the right direction
  • 43. What are we doing here?
  • 44. What are we doing here? Design Build Measure Repeat
  • 45. If this is the best way… Why does it… Cost so much time & money? Fail so often?
  • 46. Design the wrong thing Build the wrong thing Measure to see if it works Repeat, hoping for better What kinds of waste happen here?
  • 47. Not Enough Features Wrong Features Broken Features Doesn’t Work Doesn’t Solve the Problem Poor Marketing Bad Sales Process Why do products fail?
  • 48. Not Enough Features Wrong Features Broken Features Doesn’t Work Doesn’t Solve the Problem Poor Marketing Bad Sales Process Why do products fail?
  • 49. What do we know at the end? …that we didn’t know at the start?
  • 50. Here we know why Why they were interested Why they came Why they tried Why they bought Why they recommended Why they left
  • 51. ? How do we find our way out of here?
  • 52. What’s really inside this box? ?
  • 53. Your customers What’s really inside this box?
  • 54. Why not measure your customers directly?
  • 55. This is not about Just talking to customers Asking about their problems Finding the job to be done Building what they ask for Showing your idea, design, or product Measuring how they react
  • 56. This is about finding a way to discover what drives your customers’ decision making
  • 57. This is about finding a way to discover the values that drive their decision making
  • 58. If Henry Ford had... asked what customers want “Faster horse”
  • 59. If Henry Ford had... asked what customers want discovered what customers value “Faster horse” “Get me there fast” “Keep me dry” “Stop paying for hay”
  • 60. If Steve Jobs had... asked what customers want “Faster CPU, more memory” “More ports & peripherals”
  • 61. If Steve Jobs had... asked what customers want discovered what customers value “Faster CPU, more memory” “More ports & peripherals” “Light enough to carry all day” “Power that lasts all day”
  • 62. How can we do better at Discovery?
  • 63. Not Enough Features Missing Features Wrong Features Doesn’t Work Doesn’t Solve the Problem Poor Marketing Bad Sales Process Why do products fail?
  • 64. Not Enough Features Missing Features Wrong Features Doesn’t Work Doesn’t Solve the Problem Poor Marketing Bad Sales Process Why do products fail? Not enough customers find them valuable enough
  • 65. What makes your product valuable? ?
  • 66. What makes your product valuable? Your customers
  • 67. What makes your product valuable? Customer Perception of Value If they value your product, then it is valuable If they don’t value your product, then it’s not valuable
  • 68. Understanding Customer Perception of Value • Definition • Segmentation • Value Layers • Audiences • Context • Differentiation • Lots more… A very quick tour For another day
  • 69. What are customer values? What people care about in a particular context The “why” that makes them buy • Preferences, reasons & criteria • Motivations, goals & aspirations • Fears, concerns & worries • Limits, standards & ideals
  • 70. People with different values react differently to the same product
  • 71. The same basic product…
  • 72. Can be targeted at people with different values
  • 73. New definition of Market Segment People who share the same perception of what’s most valuable
  • 74. Choose your target market segment
  • 75. Choose your target market segment carefully Large audience with shared values
  • 76. Choose your target market segment carefully Large audience with shared values Small audience with shared values
  • 77. Value Layer Product or Feature Solution Type Problem / 
 Job to be Done Role / Identity Customer Values exist in different layers
  • 78. Example: Value Layers for AirBNB Value Layer Example Product or Feature Online Apartment Booking Solution Type Online Marketplace Problem / 
 Job to be Done Find a Place to Stay Role / Identity Experiential Traveler
  • 79. Value Layer Example Product or Feature Online Apartment Booking Solution Type Online Marketplace Problem / 
 Job to be Done Find a Place to Stay Role / Identity Experiential Traveler Example: Value Layers for AirBNB Ways they know it’s great when they see it Why they want it
  • 80. Successful products focus on specific values Value Layer Example Values Product or Feature Online Apartment Booking Accuracy of Description, Completeness of Photos Solution Type Online Marketplace Number of Listings, Searchability Problem / 
 Job to be Done Find a Place to Stay Comfort, Price Role / Identity Experiential Traveler Local Experiences, Low Risk
  • 81. Value Layers determine how innovative you can be Value Layer Example Product or Feature Online Apartment Booking Solution Type Online Marketplace Problem / 
 Job to be Done Find a Place to Stay Role / Identity Experiential Traveler Incremental Disruptive
  • 82. Audiences Each audience perceives value differently Buyers / Purchasers Evaluators Decision Makers Scouts / Influencers Users Approvers
  • 83. Context Perception of Value changes throughout the customer journey Awareness Consideration Purchase Usage Advocacy
  • 84. Putting it all together Customer values at each layer drive decisions for a specific audience in a specific segment in a particular context
  • 85. Values-First Design for Product-Market Fit CUSTOMER VALUES PRODUCT VALUES MARKETING “PROMISE OF VALUE” PRODUCT - MARKET FIT
  • 86. Applying the concepts of 
 Customer Perception of Value
  • 87. To get to the top of a market segment We try to excel at satisfying all our target customers’ values
  • 88. We must be sub-par at something But we can’t excel at everything
  • 89. If we choose to be sub-par at less important values
  • 90. If we choose to be sub-par at less important values We save time & money and reduce waste
  • 91. We can excel at satisfying our customers’ top values
  • 92. This is what winning companies do Deliver a tightly focused set of values to a large market
  • 93. More features ≠ more value Adding features often reduces value
  • 94. Disruptive innovations omit “essential” features 
 to deliver exceptional value No EvidenceNo TaxiNo HotelNo Keyboard No Gas Engine
  • 95. You can create value by amplifying 
 customers’ shared top values Get fit at home Find community Energy Stamina Help me look good Find my next job
  • 96. Or you can create value by minimizing 
 customers’ shared negative values Less Fat Zero Calories No Tears
  • 97. The top 1 - 3 values drive most customer decisions Safety PerformanceEconomy Being Green
  • 98. But not so fast! Don’t guess at your customers’ values You’ll likely be wrong
  • 99. Discovering customer values is hard How can we do it reliably?
  • 100. Some ways we’ve tried to do Discovery Surveys Talk to customers Focus groups Anthropological research Product testing A/B tests Product analytics We need a different approach, focused on Customer Perception of Value
  • 102. To discover customer values, we can’t just guess
  • 103. We must get better at asking questions
  • 104. …and get better at listening
  • 105. We must focus exclusively on discovering values one audience at a time… Buyers / Purchasers Evaluators Decision Makers Scouts / Influencers Users Approvers
  • 106. We must focus exclusively on discovering values one context at a time Awareness Consideration Purchase Usage Advocacy
  • 107. Interviewing for Customer Perception of Value 1. Ask them to describe their past behavior in your chosen context 2. Then ask about their thinking throughout that part of the journey
  • 108. Interviewing for Customer Perception of Value 1. Ask them to describe their past behavior in your chosen context 2. Then ask about their thinking throughout that part of the journey • Listen for how they made their decision, which values mattered most • Don’t mention any features or your ideas • Focus on discovering why. Don’t ask “why” or mention “values”
  • 109. Value Discovery Interviewing Tips Don’t pay interviewees Talk only to people who care Use surveys to screen interviewees Gain insight with live interviews Let them use their own words Avoid yes/no, a/b or forced choices Don’t mention your product or feature Learn what they care about Quantify the intensity of their values Learn which values matter most Don’t disagree, prove or sell Learn what they think
  • 110. Customer Perception of Value Mini-Workshop 1. Ask a neighbour to name a recent considered purchase 2. Ask them to describe their buying behavior in detail, start to finish Ask only about the past — not the present or future 3. Ask about their thinking along the journey they described Listen What led them to do the things that they did? How did they go about evaluating and arriving at their final decision? Listen carefully for their values and be empathetic!
  • 111. Your insights into Perception of Value
  • 112. You have new tools & skills Congratulations!
  • 113. What have we learned?
  • 114. Values first! Values are discoverable You don’t need a product, feature, wireframe or even an idea It’s actually better if you don’t
  • 115. Traditional Discovery vs. Value Discovery Instead of We can now
  • 116. Instead of trying to excel at everything
  • 117. We can excel at satisfying our customers’ top values
  • 118. Measuring our progress Instead of We can now Design → Build → Measure Measure values first 
 Design → Build → Measure
  • 119. Maximizing Customer Perception of Value A North Star we can all focus on
  • 120. We’re not done yet...
  • 121. How can you make this work at work?
  • 122. Starting with value discovery Start small Be curious Collaborate Reduce bias Iterate
  • 123. Sharing your experience What works What doesn’t Questions Answers
  • 124. We’re on a journey Toyota Manufacturing Waste → Quality Agile Coding Waste → Feedback Lean Optimization Waste → Speed Values First Discovery Waste → Success
  • 126. Your job is hard!
  • 127. You now have new values-first tools and skills
  • 128. Your job is great!
  • 129. Right From The Start From Failing Fast to Succeeding Sooner Alan Albert marketfit.com alan@marketfit.com linkedin.com/in/alanalbert @a_albert #values-first