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Product
ThinkingTathagat Varma
http://thoughtleadership.in
“Products” are everywhere!
Product vs. Service
• “what can we make?”

• Tangible and identical objects that can
be touched, tried, felt, tasted, or
transferred or even returned.

• They must be manufactured, stored,
transported, marketed, and sold, and
are separable from the seller.

• Production and consumption might
have a time lag - there might be goods
ready to be sold

• Mass production ensures uniform
quality.

• There is no customer involvement.

• Car, mobile, pen, mattress, table, etc.
• “what can we do?”

• Intangible and diversified amenities
provided by people that are often
“experienced” but never retained,
transferred or ever returned.

• They are outputs of individual action or
collective performance and can’t be
“stored”, and are inseparable from the
service provider.

• Production and consumption must occur
simultaneously - there are no inventories

• Uniformity in services and timeliness are
key.

• The customer has a high involvement.

• Transport, internet, banking, music
streaming, hotel booking, etc.
Customers want innovation!
• A 2016 study shows that 63% of customers like
it when manufacturers offer new products.
• 84% of customers say it is somewhat or very
important that the company they buy from is
innovative, according to the research firm Lab42.
• Customers are willing to pay more for innovative
products. For instance, 83% of customers
indicate that they would pay more for innovation
in electronics.
Innovative products drive $$$s
For a company to be considered “innovative”, 1/3rd
revenues need to come from products developed in
last 3 years!
3M: 40% of 2017 revenues to come from products
that did not exist 5 years ago
Traditional process
Your
“dream”
launch!
The “1.0”…
is actually,
more like
this :)
Crawl…walk…run…!!!
Famous “1.0”s…that survived!
But not everyone survives…
In fact, most new products fail!!!
Clayton Christensen: 30,000 new product each year, and 80% fail
Neilsen: Of over 60,000 new SKUs introduced in Europe over the
last years, just over half (55%) made it to 26 weeks, and only 24%
lived to reach a full year.
Joan Schneider: Less than 3% of new consumer packaged goods
exceed first-year sales of $50 million - considered the benchmark of
a highly successful launch.
PDMA: 40% products fail
Jack Trout: American families, on average, repeatedly buy the same
150 items, which constitute as much as 85% of their household
needs; it’s hard to get something new on the radar.
Why?
h"p://blog.comsysto.com/2012/08/13/continuous-delivery-of-waste/
The Design Squiggle
Your BMC on Day 1?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
??
Formulate hypotheses
Guess
Guess
Guess
Guess
Guess
Guess
Guess
GuessGuess
What’s wrong?
Build and they will come?
Minimum Viable Product
Build-Measure-Learn Loop
Accelerate
the
learning
Customer Development
h"p://blog.comsysto.com/2012/08/13/continuous-delivery-of-waste/
Evolution of Product Thinking
Process Management
Waterfall, CMM, ISO, Six Sigma, etc.
Project Management
PMBoK, PRINCE2, etc.
Classical Product Management / Requirements
Management
MRD / PRD, FRS / SRS, Volere, Product Roadmap,
etc.
Agile and Lean Thinking
Agile, Scrum, XP, Kanban, Innovation Games, Lean
Startups, etc.
Human-Centered Design
Design Thinking, Human-Centered Design, Lean UX,
etc.
So, what is Product Thinking?
Product Thinking is a holistic approach of designing and
developing innovative and visionary products that value
understanding people needs over blindly
implementing latest technology
simple and delightful user experiences over
complex and frustrating friction
insights backed by customer feedback over
development or business team’s intuition
making continuous improvements over seeking
perfection in first attempt
by systematic application of product management
fundamentals and sound design principles
One view…
Product Thinking Skills?
Business: Understand company’s mission, Business
acumen, Market, etc.
Product: Product Management, Problem domain,
Customers, Product Vision, Orchestrate teams, etc.
Design: Empathy, Ethnography, Needfinding, HCD, UX,
Design Thinking, Service Design, etc.
Technical: Technological trends, Solution domain, Tech /
Design trade-offs, etc.
Communication: Storytelling, Presentation skills,
Listening skills, etc.
How to nurture product thinking?
Education: various options (online, offline, hybrid, self-
paced, immersive, etc.), choose the one that best fits
your learning style
Certifications: Certified Scrum Product Owner
(CSPO), SAFe Product Owner, Blackblot Strategic
Product Manager (SPMR), etc.
Forum: Product School, Product Tank, Agile
conferences, various metups, etc.
References
https://www.kennorton.com/essays/productmanager.html
https://newproductsuccess.org/white-papers/new-product-failure-rates-2013-jpim-30-
pp-976-979/
https://hbr.org/2011/04/why-most-product-launches-fail
http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2015/looking-to-achieve-new-product-
success.html
https://www.visioncritical.com/stats-product-innovation/
https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/product-thinking-is-problem-solving
http://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2013/05/18/product-thinking/
http://pn.ispirt.in/the-need-for-product-thinking-and-successes/
https://medium.com/@jaf_designer/why-product-thinking-is-the-next-big-thing-in-ux-
design-ee7de959f3fe

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Product Thinking