What is your initial approach to ensure successful product development?

Andrew Kirima
20 replies
Hello to all my fellow Makers! As a rookie product manager, I want to start a thread to invite some fellow makers to share insight on one of the most essential aspects of product development, "Where to begin?": Some thought-provoking questions I would love to hear discourse about are: 1) What has worked well for you when beginning product development, including what questions do you ask yourself or your team? And what hasn't? 2) How do you first engage with cross-functional teams when you're just beginning? 3) How do you provide clarity and remove confusion with your team? 4) What's your first step to defining "Product Vision"? The above questions are just a few of the top of my head but I would be glad to hear more!


Gilad Uziely
I am far from being able to give a complete answer to any of the questions above but for me the key would be to: 1 - Think very well about strategy. I like the frame work suggested by Richard Rumelt because it is very straight forward and simple to understand. Here's a good video - https://youtu.be/UZrTl16hZdk 2 - Another great framework we've been using is Jobs To Be Done - JTBD. Really help understand your users and their relationship with the problem your product wants to solve. There's a lot of info about it online. I believe it's a great first step in defining product vision. 3 - Communication - that's a tricky one and I still don't think we've got it covered. By acknowledging that it is an important part and thinking very well on the process of structuring communication (especially for remote teams) you have already made a huge step forward. Hope it helps :)
Rahul Arora
1) What has worked well for you when beginning product development, including what questions do you ask yourself or your team? And what hasn't? - Very fast prototyping before going into backend and infra development - Only adding features that sound simple. It it sounds complex, make it simple and when it does, consider adding it - If there a question bothering, leave it for later and move on (continue completing the other things that you know) - If there is a design that you are unsure about, get the prototype out and iterate later - Go fast or go home 3) How do you provide clarity and remove confusion with your team? - Always important to close the loop. If you do not have a clarity on anything yourself, be transparent. If you dont have clarity about a product feature, why develop it at the first place? - Three C's of working in teams (clarity, courage, communication) 4) What's your first step to defining "Product Vision"? - Is the product solving a real pain point? Do you have a product market fit ? (Engage with customers, Collect data, Draw inferences, Prototype Rapidly) - Really narrrow it down to a very small single thing. Solve for it and then proceed Rule of thumb: As a product, if you make everything for everyone, before you make something for someone, you will end up becoming nothing for no one.
Andrew Kirima
@rahul__arora Thank you so much Rahul! I absolutely love your quote, "As a product, if you make everything for everyone, before you make something for someone, you will end up becoming nothing for no one." That one sentence tells me everything I need to know!
Iryna Bilyk
I recommend you going through a discovery phase. Discovery phase is your guarantee for a successful project. Before starting any project you need to analyze your business needs, discuss it with others, get a clear understanding of what solutions you require and where you can get with them. At Forbytes (a software development company), we help our clients to analyze their business ideas and create plans for the implementation. We discover the real potential of the business idea and give clients a good understanding of the project, its structure, timeline, and scope before the development stage. So, they feel safe about the success of the project, as they know what to expect. Here is a case study of a discovery phase with the international fashion brand and they shared heir opinion on this process. I recommend you to read about the whole process, it can give you a better understanding. https://forbytes.com/case-studie...
Kristina Maceković
@iryna_bilyk thank you for sharing! Could you also elaborate on which tools you use during this phase?
Andrew Kirima
@iryna_bilyk Thank you very much for your response. However, I need some clarification, are you saying I need to focus on my business needs before the customer? Or the business needs of the customer?
Veer Mishra
It is a great question. What has worked for me in past is "Market Research". Market Research, specially the primary one where we directly speak with the end consumer on all possible solutions that they use for the "Problem" that we are trying to solve through our product. It allows me and my team to think through a perfect fit and validates our use case. It also allows us to build the right "User Onboarding" process and set the most suitable pricing for it.
Andrew Kirima
@veermishra0803 Hey Veer, would you like to share some sites or companies you can retrieve reliable data from?
Veer Mishra
@andrew_kirima1 Well there are multiple actually. It completely depends on the vertical you want to find the data for. For secondary research, google search is enough. But when it comes to real primary data, you need 1-on-1 level inputs and we've been doing that through some selective sources for retail (which is our vertical).
Sreekanth PM
Well , i love to answer your questions about starting points. First Should clearly define about the vision of your product, where it should be after 3 years and who are your target users. Once you figured out the target groups, take 2 or 3 groups (This will be the focus group of your product) and identify what are the possible problems they face at present with all existing tools. You can validate this by asking your target groups directly. Now ask your self how you can differentiate from the product in the market by thinking the pain areas of the focus groups. Align this with your broader road maps. Constantly discuss the technical difficulties they may face for implementing such features in your product with your tech lead and tweak the features if something is technically not possible. Now coming to an important one: Sketch these things (I personally use paper and pencil, because it always allows me to sketch it as i like without having the limitation of any digital tools. Now you brainstorm with your team about this and iterate to make a proper road map for the product. Document all the above things and assign your UX team for building the UX .
Andrew Kirima
@sreekanth850 Thank you , this is all very good information. Just to make sure though, for the second part of your response are you referring to iterative development like agile? Where we roll some version of the product out quick and thing instantly bring it back to the drawing board to fit.
Sreekanth PM
@andrew_kirima1 Absolutely. Once you have done UX, Start with bare minimum feature that you can do with your team and roll out a beta phase where you will get enough users to test it and give you feedback.
Eddie H.
Keep your team small. Come in with a plan but don't give the impression to your team that it's final or your way only. Don't underestimate your team's ability to generate great ideas themselves.
Andrew Kirima
@eddieaich Thank you, I completely agree. I wouldn't even want to be surrounded by a team I doubted. Basically, I know if I did good job with my team, if they challenge my thoughts with professional insight.
Fizzap Social Network
If you are spending more time talking about something other than the project, drinking coffees, using project management tools...... than doing actual design and code then there is something seriously wrong with your time management. Also stop using Agile, it wastes more time than it saves.