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Product management (at Boost Turku Startup Journey 2015)

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Product management fundamentals (from my perspective), presented at the Startup Journey 2015 accelerator program at Boost Turku (Finland) on 2015-07-08.

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Product management (at Boost Turku Startup Journey 2015)

  1. 1. Startup Journey 2015 Product Management Boost Turku, 2015-07-08 Anna Ronkainen @ronkaine anna.ronkainen@trademarknow.com
  2. 2. Look who’s talking Anna Ronkainen -  a lawyer at least on paper (LL.M., U of Copenhagen); also studied EE/CS & linguistics; researcher in computational legal theory (U of Helsinki) – I’ll also be talking to you about intellectual property on Aug 12... -  Chief Scientist and co-founder, TrademarkNow Inc., head of product 2012–2015 -  worked in the software industry since the early 1990s, in project and product management roles since ~2000 -  serious design (especially typography) geek; occasional usability scholar as well
  3. 3. About TrademarkNow -  founded in 2012, based in Helsinki, NYC and Kilkenny, now ~30 employees -  products based on an AI model of likelihood of confusion for trademarks, based on my own basic research in computational legal theory (since 2002) -  NameCheck: intelligent TM search -  NameWatch: intelligent TM watch
  4. 4. Disclaimer: Everything I’ll say is bullshit – including what I just said!
  5. 5. In other words: If what I say doesn’t seem to make sense to you, it’s probably just not applicable to your vertical. Trust your intuition – but also remember to question your assumptions from time to time!
  6. 6. Product management in a nutshell http://vooza.com/videos/just-say-no/
  7. 7. Of course we’re in favour of automation whenever possible Our latest product management hire (can handle ~90% of all feature suggestions from prospects and customers)
  8. 8. Why you should end up saying “no” to most things -  you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) do everything, product focus is crucial -  (most) end-users are not designers: their suggested “improvements” would usually make the product worse -  still, they are indicative of real problems and tell where you should dig deeper to find out what the actual problems are and how to best address them
  9. 9. End-users are not designers: You get this...
  10. 10. ...rather than this:
  11. 11. 12 arguments you should say no to 1.  But the data looks good 2.  But it’ll only take a few minutes 3.  But this customer is about to quit 4.  But we can just make it optional 5.  But my cousin’s neighbour said... 6.  But we’ve nothing else planned 7.  But we’re supposed to be allowed to work on whatever we want 8.  But 713,000 people want it 9.  But our competitors already have it 10.  But if we don’t build it, someone else will 11.  But the boss really wants it 12.  But this could be “the one” (from Intercom on Product Management)
  12. 12. Design thinking -  Peter Drucker: the job of designers is “converting need into demand” – figuring out what people want and giving it to them (i.e., innovating) -  Tim Brown of IDEO: The challenge for design thinkers is to “help people to articulate the latent needs they may not even know they have” -  desirable, viable, feasible
  13. 13. Design thinking tools -  insight: go out into the world and learn from the lives of others -  observation: watch what people do (and do not do) and listen to what they say (and do not say) -  empathy: stand in the shoes of others, connect with their emotions.
  14. 14. Getting towards MVP
  15. 15. Minimum viable cake
  16. 16. You can’t outsource product vision The answers to your questions are inside this building. They have to be. But you do have to get out of the building to make sure you are asking the right questions (and to validate your answers)!
  17. 17. You can’t A/B test your way to a MVP A/B testing works (at most) for marginal improvements – and even for them only if you have the volume to draw statistically significant conclusions.
  18. 18. My/our answer: Build something for yourself (and be your toughest customer) (a.k.a. the Steve Jobs school of product management) Works for (almost) anything:
  19. 19. What do you do if you can’t be your own customer -  at least try to pretend: empathy, empathy, empathy! -  do get out of the building – often and a lot -  being an usability geek helps a lot with product design and management, but tends to make your life a hell around poor usability
  20. 20. Concrete product design tools -  interviews -  questionnaires -  think-aloud -  personas -  user stories (“as a ____, I want to ____ in order to ____”) -  doing it yourself -  product roadmap -  (A/B tests)
  21. 21. The Jobs-to-be-Done framework
  22. 22. Things to consider before saying yes to product features 1.  Does it fit your product vision? 2.  Will it still matter in 5 years? 3.  Will everyone benefit from it? 4.  Will it improve, complement or innovate on the existing workflow? 5.  Does it grow the business? 6.  Will it generate new meaningful engagement? 7.  If it succeeds, can we support and afford it? 8.  Can we design it so that reward is greater than effort? 9.  Can we do it well? 10. Can we scope it well? (from Intercom on Product Management)
  23. 23. Be agile, don’t “do Agile®” -  in a larger project, have some sense of overall direction, but don’t think you can design everything at once -  plan for something a sprint, do it, get it out to users, evaluate and plan next iteration -  focus on doing things mindfully, use your common sense as well as your own domain expertise rather than just think following some methodology will solve everything
  24. 24. Product management/production cycles -  sprint (1–4 weeks each): work planned, and specified in considerable detail -  current & next quarter: split work into sprint-size chunks, ordered according to critical paths -  roadmap: major features and new products in broad terms per quarter This is usually too much structure to be worth it pre- MVP (unless you’re doing something really really complicated). Also a tool for deciding what not to do! (At least not until...)
  25. 25. What do users (really) want?
  26. 26. Even B2B products are still bought by people! -  ... you just may have to convince more of them -  but you still have to make them want the product on a personal level (in terms of whatever evaluation framework they are using) -  see the market in terms of Unique Buying States, not just Unique Selling Points
  27. 27. Suck threshold (Kathy Sierra: Badass – Making Users Awesome)
  28. 28. The Flow™ charts (Csikszentmihalyi 1975, 1990 etc.)
  29. 29. Resources -  Steve Blank and Bob Dorf: The Startup Owner’s Manual -  Intercom on Product Management (free ebook): https://www.intercom.io/books/product-management -  Mind the Product conference, videos of presentations from past editions at http://www.mindtheproduct.com/category/product-management-videos/ -  ProductCamp, ProductTank meetups (also in Finland) -  Don Norman: The Design of Everyday Things
  30. 30. Questions? Thank you!

Product management fundamentals (from my perspective), presented at the Startup Journey 2015 accelerator program at Boost Turku (Finland) on 2015-07-08.

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