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The elements of product success for business leaders


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All software, whether it's for consumers or workers, needs to meet the ever growing demands people have in today’s world. Greater user expectations and influence are forcing companies to create and deliver better products, but not every organization has a rich heritage in software creation like tech giants Apple and Google. Most companies need to be more customer-focused, become design specialists, and transform their cultures as they shift to become both software makers and innovators.

Myers, a 16 year specialist in design and head of design services at Cooper, will share the elements of product success that companies need to possess and be market leaders: user insight, design, and organization. Myers will share principles and techniques that successful innovative companies use to truly understand their customers. He’ll also discuss the methods effective designers use to support their customers and create breakthrough ideas and delightful experiences. And he’ll finish by sharing the magic formula organizations need to deliver ground-breaking experiences to market.

This talk was initially given at Visualize 2012.

Published in: Business

The elements of product success for business leaders

  1. 1. The elements ofproduct success› Nick Myers @nickmyer5
  2. 2. What  I’ll be talking aboutThe challenges we face today in software creationThe elements that lead to product success: user insight, design,organizational effectivenessPrinciples, techniques, examples of each element
  3. 3. More customer interactions are now digital
  4. 4. User experiences have improved
  5. 5. Products are now simpler
  6. 6. Expectations are now higher
  7. 7. Expectations are now higher in business
  8. 8. Expectations are constantly being redefined
  9. 9. It’s no longer enough to be intuitive. Competition is fierce.
  10. 10. Brands are being defined by the user experience As of Dec 2011, Facebook received 2.7 billion likes and comments per day.
  11. 11. Design is more valued
  12. 12. Many companies are now software makers GE is now the 14th largest software provider in the world
  13. 13. Old methods and cultures limit product successMichael Porter’s Value Chain model, a classic business strategy definition of of howcompanies should be organized to determine their market competitiveness
  14. 14. How do companiesadapt to these changesand create amazingproducts?
  15. 15. 3 elements to product success User insight Design Organization
  16. 16. Some companies are good at one, maybe two elements. Few companies have it figured out.
  17. 17. Achieving excellence in all three is a monumental challenge. These are cultural values.
  18. 18. Take notes!How do you, your teams, your company match up?What else is critical to success?
  19. 19. User insight
  20. 20. Only a deep understanding of your users will help you create something they love Insight   Principle  
  21. 21. Let’s  look  at  an  organiza6on  Many of us are stuck in the middle Insight   Truth  
  22. 22. This was especially true of engineers Insight   Truth  
  23. 23. All the action is happening at the edges of your organization
  24. 24. Effective product teams operate close to the edge Insight   Truth  
  25. 25. We need to put people at the center of our thinking. “users” is a dangerous word. Insight   Truth  
  26. 26. How? Seeing how people work helps you understand their needs and goals. Insight   Principle  
  27. 27. Which leads to designs that support those needs and goals
  28. 28. Understanding people’s needs and context also helps you innovate new products
  29. 29. Traditional business requirements gathering doesn’t reveal people’s latent needs Insight   Challenge  
  30. 30. Why is this method bad? Interviewees have a natural tendency to please the interviewer.
  31. 31. People are terrible at self-reporting and over generalize
  32. 32. Don’t rely on the least-experienced person to guide your product’s vision“ A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. ” Steve Jobs
  33. 33. Ethnography – the practice of observations and interview
  34. 34. Ethnographic research helps us understand the context and motivations for user behavior
  35. 35. We start with an overview questionWhat’s a day look like? +  Makes it feel less like a survey +  Makes you less inclined to ask leading questions Research   Technique  
  36. 36. We follow up with “case-focused” questions Tell me about a specific instance when… +  Ask for interviewees to tell stories Research   Technique   +  Ask for specific examples
  37. 37. We also look around the room Team  environment   Process  flows   Workarounds   Lots  of  codes   to  remember!   Heavy  use   Research   Technique  
  38. 38. We ask “why?” a lot. A conversation might go like this… Tell me about a part of the system that you love. I really love that Starmine analyst rating. Why? Because it’s awesome. What’s awesome about it? It tells me how good the analyst is. Duh. And why is that good? Because I need to feel confident when I use their advice . Yahtzee! Research   Technique  
  39. 39. We take an interviewer’s mindset: Apprentice Research   Technique  
  40. 40. In the end it’s simple Attention to Simple, Execution Great people’s + elegant + on the = products needs & goals ideas details Magic   Formula  
  41. 41. So what do I do with all this research? Personas: The synthesis of user research Design   Tool  
  42. 42. They represent the needs of many“ The persona is the voice of the user, each has a goal. This informs lightweight, quickly iterated designs.   ” Alan Cooper
  43. 43. Scenarios, the common navigational pathways, bring personas to life Design   Tool  
  44. 44. Scenarios naturally guide requirements, create more useful software Design   Technique  
  45. 45. Other noteworthy research methodsJournaling Participatory designUser research via web conference Lightweight user research (street, friends)
  46. 46. At the very least, sketch personas can be based on a set of agreed-upon assumptions
  47. 47. If you can speak with authority about your users you will become an authority
  48. 48. How much do you know about your users? +  How much do your teams (esp. designers) know your users? +  Do people visit users in their environments often? +  Do they use ethnographic techniques? +  Do you know what they need and want? +  Does your organization have and use personas? +  Do you design from their point-of-view? +  Do your customers love you and acknowledge that you “get them”?
  49. 49. Design
  50. 50. Design is hard Fact  
  51. 51. End results are simple. But simple is hard.
  52. 52. We’re making stuff. All made things take effort. Fact  
  53. 53. Design takes time. It isn’t tacked on at the end. Design   Truth  
  54. 54. We’re all solving problems Design   Principle   Roger Martin’s Design of Business
  55. 55. What’s makes designers good? Abductive thinking: imagining what could be possible Design   Principle   Roger Martin’s Design of Business
  56. 56. Good designers consider the possibilities Design   Principle  
  57. 57. Good designers are also filled with many design patterns
  58. 58. We aren’t magicians, nor artists
  59. 59. We use methods Project Charter User & Domain Exploration Framework Detailed Development Analysis Design Design Collaboration Stakeholder Ethnographic Concept Scenario-based Detailed design Product research interviews Sketches design stewardship Form & Behavior Domain research Service Interaction Product Specification Design Blueprints Models ecosystem support Experience vision workshop Visual style guide User & Domain Visual Front-end Analysis Language User feedback development Prototype Studies refinement Design Prototype Imperatives development User feedback Front-end development
  60. 60. Figuring out the big ideas first using sketches. They’re cheap. Design   Principle  
  61. 61. Everyone can participate in idea generation
  62. 62. Great exercise you can do: what are ten ways I could solve this problem? Design   Technique  
  63. 63. The exploration workshop Design   Technique  
  64. 64. The more you explore the more we can create novel interactions
  65. 65. We’re aiming for better“ It’s easy to be different but it’s difficult to be better. ” Jonathan Ive Apple
  66. 66. Design should be based on good rationale – great to ask why? a lot here too! Design   Technique  
  67. 67. Ideas are best shared as stories
  68. 68. Stories help people imagine how your idea will change their lives or the lives of others A character A trigger that Journey to Great story we believe + sparks a quest + resolution = (excitement) (persona) (problem) (solution)
  69. 69. Prototyping (aka visualization) is a more sophisticated exploration and storytelling method
  70. 70. Prototyping has become more important as interactions + motion are more pervasive
  71. 71. Prototyping helps you evaluate the design and refine faster
  72. 72. Designers are relentless down to the last detail
  73. 73. Why is this important? Aesthetic products are perceived as easier to use than less-aesthetic products“ Attractive things work better… When you wash and wax a car, it drives better, doesn’t it? Or at least it feels like it does. Donald Norman ” Author of the Design of Everyday things and Emotional Design
  74. 74. Rich prototypes are the best way to create excitement and win support
  75. 75. How design-capable are you? +  Is design important to your company? +  Do you have great designers? +  Is design integrated with development? +  Are teams generative? +  Are there clear design processes that people use? +  Do people communicate their design vision? +  Do you care about the details before shipping? +  Do you sell design with stories and prototypes?
  76. 76. Organization
  77. 77. Hard lesson: You can know your users, do great design, and still failPlastic LogicQue ProreaderBeautiful designMultiple product delaysMarket changesCompetitionExpensive Hard   Truth  
  78. 78. It takes a great deal to be successful at product success +  Leadership +  Process +  Principles +  Tools +  People +  Education +  Collaboration +  Communication
  79. 79. Change is hard! Metro has taken years of effort Hard   Truth  
  80. 80. P&G VP of Design, Claudia Kotchka said it takes 7 years to affect change
  81. 81. Effective design leadership is more operational Opera6on   Insight  
  82. 82. Citrix VP of Product Design spends half her time marketing internally Opera6on   Insight  
  83. 83. Change: Create small wins. Show results. Share how you did it. Ask for more. Small Show Share Ask for win + results + work + more = Progress Opera6on   Technique  
  84. 84. Experience workshops open the dialog about what design means
  85. 85. Images bring life to the conversation and guide an ideal experience
  86. 86. Create tools: UI guidelines inspire product teams to adopt a new system
  87. 87. Standards  improve  the  baseline  expecta6ons  and  share  design  ra6onale  
  88. 88. Tool libraries save teams development time, improve consistency and quality
  89. 89. Going further, design principles foster culture change
  90. 90. Principles are now everywhere: UX, HR, training, legal, ID badges
  91. 91. Why design matters Video credit: Energy Energy
  92. 92. The results for Citrix
  93. 93. Design is now one of their top annual objectives
  94. 94. Superpower: Socialize your ideas with individuals to gain support Opera6on   Technique  
  95. 95. Innovative companies diversify their product strategieshNp://  
  96. 96. Only truly innovative companies are willing to disrupt their own business
  97. 97. If you don’t disrupt your product someone else willhNp://  
  98. 98. New platforms let you leave behind legacy code and start fresh
  99. 99. Prac6ce  Fusion  has  disrupted  the  healthcare  space,  now  they’re  disrup6ng  their  own  products  
  100. 100. Prac6ce  Fusion’s  web-­‐based  EMR  
  101. 101. Practice Fusion iPad EMR app has disrupted their web software
  102. 102. The design was successful and the prototype excited the crowd
  103. 103. Practice Fusion is managing to achieve success in user insight, design and organizational will
  104. 104. How  does  your  organiza6on  measure  up?   +  Does your company have values in design and innovation? +  If not, is it willing to change? +  Does your leadership value design and product invention? +  Do your teams have strong processes that incorporate user involvement and design? +  Do you attract the talent? +  Does your company support risk-taking? +  Does your company value quality over deadlines?
  105. 105. A few things toremember…
  106. 106. A deep understanding ofyour users will bring clarityto your requirements
  107. 107. Great design comes from simpleelegant ideas and an obsessivenessto execute the details
  108. 108. Small wins with strongresults lead to biggeropportunities and change
  109. 109. Insight, design, and hardwork can excite yourorganization to change
  110. 110. › Continue the conversation…
  111. 111. Contact Cooper for strategy + design User research, domain Product strategy and Interaction design Research, and analysis service strategy and service designVisual design Prototyping and Education andand branding development mentoring +1 415 267 3500