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Optimal Product Decisions - Letting the Genie out of the Bottle

Product Marketing / Managers are pressed to make quality decisions to satisfy an increasing number of people, at a pace that is hard to keep up, in contexts where the stakes only grow.

In this interactive presentation, we will apply 5 best practices to improve decision-making in the context of #ProdMgmt to help you hone your ability to build better products, gain new levels of user insights, create value faster, become a better leader, and ultimately accelerate your career.

In this session you'll learn:
- The lessons can PMs learn from successful merge and acquisitions (M&A)
- The key human cognitive biases used to elevate product design / experience
- How to improve dialogue with cross-functional teams
- Vital few questions to ask yourself / your teams to avoid getting in your own way
- How Product Managers at Google, slack, Twitter, Apple and IDEO design to optimize user delight

Optimal Product Decisions - Letting the Genie out of the Bottle

  1. 1. Global Marketing Andre Piazza @AndreAtDell http://linkd.in/andrepiazza Andre Piazza @AndreAtDell
  2. 2. Why decisions matter today more than ever? • Pervasive • Increased access to information • Variety of options • More stakeholders • Pressure to decide faster • Limited ability to make decisions on a daily basis Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  3. 3. We make a variety of decisions through life Lifecycle – Education – Transportation – Health – Housing Professional – Career – Employment Financial – Savings – 401K Lifestyle – Family – Romantic Routine – Do / don’t; go / no go – Priorities Civic – Elections – Jury Duty – Military 24 Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  4. 4. What is a great decision? • Achieve goals • Aligned with beliefs, values • Address (implicit, explicit) expectations from everyone involved … in various degrees. Hopefully as close to expectations as possible. Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 4
  5. 5. Benefits of an intentional approach to decisions • Build value into products, faster • Increase your ability to influence others • Reduce stress • Advance your career • Ultimately, reclaim life Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 5
  6. 6. there’s more to this journey than just avoiding bad behaviors poor decisions great decisions Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 6
  7. 7. 5 tips for Optimal Product Decisions W R A P P Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 7
  8. 8. 5 tips for Optimal Product Decisions Widen your options Reality-test your assumptions Attain emotional distance Prepare for success (or failure) Pursue a process Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 8
  9. 9. 5 tips for Optimal Product Decisions options validate implicationschallenge sustainability Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 9
  10. 10. Widen your options • Focus on creating alternatives • Avoid a narrow frame Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 10
  11. 11. Widen your options Avoid a narrow frame FROM: Should I do < A >: yes or no? Should I do < A > or < B >? • are you solving the right problem? • limited to 1 course of action TO: What If I do < A > and < B >? • creates options • enables multi-tracking: multiple courses of action ALTERNATIVE: What’s the best way to achieve < goal >? Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 11
  12. 12. Reality-test your assumptions • Develop early warning systems • Validated learning in MVPs • Prototype early Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 12
  13. 13. Vote: choose to hear a story from the career of Bob Dylan David Bowie Van Halen Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 13
  14. 14. Van Halen’s contract in the 70s demanded a bowl with no brown M&Ms available backstage. Penalty was forfeiture of the contract. This ingenious early warning system checked if venue would meet band’s sound & safety requirements. Reality-test your assumptions Early warning systems Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  15. 15. Reality-test your assumptions Quantitative Feature Prioritization Weighted average covering: – Customer Impact – Business Impact – Cost, Ease and Timeline of implementation – Competitive Impact Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 15
  16. 16. Reality-test your assumptions Qualitative Feature Prioritization Kano Model Effect of Time: Decay of UX 3 categories: - Dissatisfiers / Basic Needs Over time, delighters - Satisfiers become satisfiers, - Delighters which in turn become dissatisfiers Satisfiers Effect of Time Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 16
  17. 17. Reality-test your assumptions MVP concept Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the version of a product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 17
  18. 18. Reality-test your assumptions Validating features in MVPs • A/B Test (webpages) • Usage reports • Bug reports • Collect feedback / suggestions natively in product • User / Customer interviews Surveys Web Analytics Customer Feedback In-person / Lab In-context say do think feel designer tools user behavior Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 18
  19. 19. Reality-test your assumptions Prototype early • Wireframes • Mock-ups • State diagrams Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 19
  20. 20. Attain emotional distance • Challenge your own biases • Influence others • Empathize with customer first • Check the facts • Understand competition Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 20
  21. 21. Attain emotional distance A word about the very nature of decisions 1. Decisions are primarily emotional processes 2. Illuminated by facts, experience, intuition, knowledge 3. With the backdrop of circumstances To improve your decision-making skills, you need to learn to effectively navigate each of these elements Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 21
  22. 22. Attain emotional distance "People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, and then repent." Bob Dylan Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 22
  23. 23. Attain emotional distance Challenge your own biases Your Bob Dylan choice Halo effect Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  24. 24. Attain emotional distance Challenge your own biases Your David Bowie choice eCommerce and Retail >>> Click HERE for more examples of Biases Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  25. 25. Attain emotional distance Challenge your own biases >>> Click HERE to download cheat sheet Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  26. 26. Information overload Lack of meaning Need to act fast What should I remember? Attain emotional distance Challenge your own biases Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  27. 27. Attain emotional distance Challenge your own biases •Information overload sucks, so we aggressively filter. Noise becomes signal. •Lack of meaning is confusing, so we fill in the gaps. Signal becomes a story. •Need to act fast lest we lose our chance, so we jump to conclusions. Stories become decisions. •This isn’t getting easier, so we try to remember the important bits. Decisions inform our mental models of the world. Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  28. 28. Information overload Lack of meaning Need to act fast What should I remember? Attain emotional distance Challenge your own biases Noise Signal Stories Decisions Worldviews Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  29. 29. Attain emotional distance Challenge someone else’s biases WHAT: solution WHY: narrative MOTIVATIONS: goals beliefs values priorities Tip: Elicit the deeper levels, and use that information for persuasion and influence Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  30. 30. Attain emotional distance 20+ #ProdMgmt biases and pet peeves PM skills: • We can predict the future • We can impersonate our customers • Our idea is the best idea, our way is the best way, our design is the best design Features: • If we build it, they will come • We really have to make this backwards compatible • Custom work can be easily productized Customers and UX: • The customer with the failed usability test is not representative • The customer who loves the new feature is representative • The customer will eagerly adopt the new feature • Usability doesn’t really matter in the enterprise • It’s easy, we don’t need any FAQs/documentation • It’s obvious, we don’t need user testing Process and Resources: • Our roadmaps will remain accurate for more than a month • No news from < cross-functional team > is good news • Doubling the team size will double the output • Product complexity scales linearly with number of personas serviced • Developers disproportionately lack empathy • It is “all about execution” Sales: • Sales understands how to sell the new feature • We understand how to sell the new feature • Sales doesn’t know what the customer wants Marketplace and Competition: • We know who our competitors will be in one year Source: John Cutler Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 30 >>> Click HERE for more #ProdMgmt biases
  31. 31. Attain emotional distance In building products, consider these 1. Anthropomorphism 2. Negativity bias 3. Loss aversion 4. Reciprocity 5. Peak-end effect 6. Cognitive dissonance 7. Goal gradient effect 8. Social proof Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  32. 32. Attain emotional distance In building products, consider these Cognitive Bias Description Implementation Anthropomorphism We like things to be consistent and human UX and Design Principles Negativity bias Greater recall of negative experiences 5:1 Positive to Negative trade-offs Loss aversion FOMO is 1.5-2.5x than gains Freebie lost after expiration. 30-day trials. Reciprocity People feel indebted for small gifts Useful functionality or unexpected UX delight Peak-end effect When forming memories, bias pro-peak and end Get the user to a-ha moment ASAP Cognitive dissonance Stress when belief and action mismatch Notify user when preferences attained Goal gradient effect The closer to the goal, the more effort put in Show progress to milestone Social proof When in doubt, follow the crowd Testimonials, reviews, ratings, endorsements Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  33. 33. Attain emotional distance Empathize First Brené Brown - The Power of Empathy (2:53) David Wallace – This is Water (9:22) Sheena Iyengar: The art of choosing (24:08) Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 33
  34. 34. Attain emotional distance Buyer / User Personas Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 34
  35. 35. Attain emotional distance Buyer’s Journey Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 35
  36. 36. Attain emotional distance Check the facts Example: Performance Dashboards Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 36
  37. 37. Prepare for success (or failure) • Fallback positions • Contingencies • Entry and exit strategies • Learning from failure • User onboarding The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael D. Watkins Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  38. 38. Pursue a process The higher… • the stakes • the length of the decision • the number of people involved … the more you need a process to decide Ask HOW to understand: - criteria - sequence of steps - define responsibilities -duration Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 38
  39. 39. Pursue a process (cted.) It doesn’t have to be like this… Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 39
  40. 40. Pursue a process (cted.) In general: the simpler, the better TIP: For simple yet ingenuous solutions, establish: 1. triggers 2. rules of engagement 3. team operating agreement Process ensures transparency and alignment with everyone involved Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 40 SAMPLE: Team Operating Agreement results in a Product Team
  41. 41. Pursue a process - example Sales qualification process • Budget • Authority • Need • Timeline Marketing funnel Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 41
  42. 42. Pursue a process - example Product Management frameworks Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 42
  43. 43. Pursue a process - example Lean Startup framework Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 43
  44. 44. Pursue a process - example Design Principles • Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines • Google’s Material Design Guidelines • IDEO’s Human-Centered Design Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  45. 45. Pursue a process – Venture Capitalist “I have struggled with the sell decisions over the course of my career. I have held on way too long and watched a stock literally go all the way to zero without selling it (ouch). And I have made the even worse decision of selling too soon and watching a stock go up 3-5x from where I sold it. So where I have landed on selling (decisions) is to make it formulaic and systematic. We also let the people know that is our policy so they are not surprised by it. It takes the emotion out of the decision and it works better for us.” @FredWilson Source: http://avc.com/2016/10/selling/ Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  46. 46. Recap: our journey great decisions, today poor decisions great decisions Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 2
  47. 47. Recap: 5 tips for Optimal Product Decisions Widen your options Reality-test your assumptions Attain emotional distance Prepare for success (or failure) Pursue a process Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 47
  48. 48. Recap: 5 tips for Optimal Product Decisions Widen your options • Focus on creating alternatives • Avoid a narrow frame Reality-test your assumptions • Develop early warning systems • Validated learning in MVPs • Prototype early Attain emotional distance • Challenge your own biases • Influence others • Empathize with customer first • Check the facts • Understand competition Prepare for success (or failure) • Fallback positions • Contingencies • Entry and exit strategies • Learning from failure Pursue a process + BONUS Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 48
  49. 49. 5 tips for Optimal Product Decisions options validate implicationschallenge sustainability Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 49
  50. 50. Thank You Andre Piazza @AndreAtDell http://linkd.in/andrepiazza @AndreAtDell Linkedin.com/in/AndrePiazza "The energy of a Sales maker, the brains of an Engineer" Andre Piazza Slideshare.net/Apiazza
  51. 51. Case Study: Agile adoption Reality-Test / Prepare for Success, Failure CONDITIONS FAVORABLE UNFAVORABLE Market Environment Customer preferences and solution options change frequently. Market conditions are stable and predictable. Customer Involvement Close collaboration and rapid feedback are feasible. Customers know better what they want as the process progresses. Requirements are clear at the outset and will remain stable. Customers are unavailable for constant collaboration. Innovation Type Problems are complex, solutions are unknown, and the scope isn’t clearly defined. Product specifications may change. Creative breakthroughs and time to market are important. Cross-functional collaboration is vital. Similar work has been done before, and innovators believe the solutions are clear. Detailed specifications and work plans can be forecast with confidence and should be adhered to. Problems can be solved sequentially in functional silos. Modularity of Work Incremental developments have value, and customers can use them. Work can be broken into parts and conducted in rapid, iterative cycles. Late changes are manageable. Customers cannot start testing parts of the product until everything is complete. Late changes are expensive or impossible. Impact of Interim Mistakes They provide valuable learning. They may be catastrophic. SOURCE BAIN & COMPANY FROM “EMBRACING AGILE,” MAY 2016 https://hbr.org/2016/05/embracing-agile © HBR.ORG Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 51
  52. 52. Case Study: Agile adoption Widen Options / Prepare for Success / Pursue a Process SCRUM KANBAN LEAN DEVELOPMENT Guiding Principles Empower creative, cross-functional teams Visualize workflows and limit work in process Eliminate waste from the system as a whole Favorable Conditions for Adoption Creative cultures with high levels of trust and collaboration, or Radical innovation teams that want to change their working environment Process-oriented cultures that prefer evolutionary improvements with few prescribed practices Process-oriented cultures that prefer evolutionary improvements with overarching values but no prescribed practices Approach to Cultural Change Quickly adopt minimally prescribed practices, even if they differ substantially from those in the rest of the organization Master prescribed practices and then adapt them through experimentation Respect current structures and processes Increase visibility into workflows Encourage gradual, collaborative changes Respect current structures and processes Stress agile values throughout the organization while minimizing organizational resistance Advantages Facilitates radical breakthroughs while (unlike skunkworks) retaining the benefits of operating as part of the parent organization Delivers the most valuable innovations earliest Rapidly increases team happiness Builds general management skills Avoids clashes with the parent organization’s culture Maximizes the contributions of team members through flexible team structures and work cycles Facilitates rapid responses to urgent issues through flexible work cycles Optimizes the system as a whole and engages the entire organization Provides the ultimate flexibility in customizing work practices Challenges Leaders may struggle to prioritize initiatives and relinquish control to self- managing teams New matrix-management skills are required to coordinate dozens or hundreds of multi-disciplinary teams Fixed iteration times may not be suitable for some problems (especially those that arise on a daily basis) Some team members may be underutilized in certain sprint cycles Practitioners must figure out how best to apply most agile values and principles Wide variation in practices can complicate the prioritization of initiatives and coordination among teams When initiatives don’t succeed, it can be hard to determine whether teams selected the wrong tools or used the right tools in the wrong ways Novices trying to change behaviors may find the lack of prescriptive methodologies frustrating Evolutionary improvements can make radical breakthroughs less likely and major improvements less rapid Leaders need to make the grind of continuously eliminating waste feel inspirational and fun SOURCE DARRELL K. RIGBY, JEFF SUTHERLAND, AND HIROTAKA TAKEUCHI FROM “EMBRACING AGILE,” APRIL 2016 https://hbr.org/2016/05/embracing-agile © HBR.ORG Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 52
  53. 53. BONUS Convenience: enemy of greatness, friend of mediocrity CONVENIENCE has multiple aspects: 1. ignorance 2. (bad) habit 3. immediate availability 3. need of consensus 4. forcing compromise 5. comfort 6. passivity TIPS: • challenge yourself • embrace creative tension • seek out emotional labor • do the hard part first Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 53
  54. 54. BONUS The Paradox of Convenience CONVENIENCE has the potential to skew decisions toward poor. Nonetheless, as Product Managers, an incredible way of creating value and improving satisfaction is delivering convenience to users. TIP: be aware of convenience when making your own decisions AND learn to deliver convenience all day long. Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 54
  55. 55. Bibliography Decisive – How to make better choices in life and work by Chip & Dan Heath BUYER PERSONAS by Adele Revella Embracing Agile by Darrell K. RigbyJeff SutherlandHirotaka Takeuchi Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki Optimal Product Decisions: Letting the Genie out of the Bottle @AndreAtDell 55

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