Customers value Results, not Tools

As toolmakers, we tend to often be thinking (and talking) about the tools we make and the process of making them. We are Product Hunters, Thinkers, People, etc. It is critical for us to have those conversations and try to define and improve what is a very empirical craft; but it’s also imperative that we don’t forget what drives all of it: providing results to our customers. It’s very easy to get drawn into the internal dynamics of the Product and forget about the Bigger Picture. This tweet’s popularity is proof to me that this is a common feeling: Product Managers: let’s keep our role in perspective #prodmgmt pic.twitter.com/KoQ2ErikdJ — Daniel Zacarias (@listentodaniel) April 28, 2015 This focus on results has been described by many different names: It’s the pain we’re solving It’s how we think about our …

Product Managers: Let’s Keep our Role in Perspective

  Here’s a pun on Martin Eriksson‘s now classic diagram. As Product Managers we must always remember that our role is to look outwards at least as much as we look inwards. Although the product delivery process is noisier and demands a lot of attention, let’s keep in mind that our job is to create value for our customers and consequently, for the business.

Book Review: “Badass: Making Users Awesome”

Kathy Sierra’s latest book is a must-read for any product person. The book’s premise is this: if we want to create bestselling, sustainably successful products or services, we have to shift our thinking from “making awesome products” to “making our users awesome”. The path to long-term success and customer satisfaction is forged by giving our users the tools to succeed not just in using our product, but in the context in which they’re using the product. That is, if we’re making a video editing app, our goal should be for the user to be badass at producing great videos. This will lead to that user naturally recommending our product or service within her social circles and thus create a virtuous cycle of success. Getting …

Measuring Customer Value in a Software Product

One of our main goals as Product Managers is to focus on delivering value to our users. But what exactly do we mean by Value? Here’s a definition I like (from Wikipedia): Value in marketing, also known as customer-perceived value, is the difference between a prospective customer’s evaluation of the benefits and costs of one product when compared with others. Value may also be expressed as a straightforward relationship between perceived benefits and perceived costs: Value = Benefits / Cost. The customers get benefits and assume costs. Value is thus subjective (i.e., a function of consumers’ estimation) and relational (i.e., both benefits and cost must be positive values). Within the world of Software Products, we can translate Benefits and Costs to tangible …

It’s Humans all the Way Down

We should all realize that making software is mostly a human endeavour. This is not necessarily obvious, especially to those of us with an engineering background. There’s a tendency to think of what we do as being technical work. It’s not. The thing is, once it’s clear what to do, the technical parts may be challenging, but they’re pretty much achievable. What’s really complicated is everything that happens before that. Before there’s a working piece of software, a bunch of people need to communicate through different languages, since there are only humans in between the customer and the machine. It’s humans all the way down. Thus, building software is actually a series of translation steps, where each describes to another person “what needs to be done” in different ways. I’ll …

Folding your Software Burrito

Burritos are great. The combination of ingredients, flavors and packaging is pretty much unbeatable. I’ve eaten them at restaurants and at home and although I can make pretty decent fillings, I’m just not as good at folding them as the maestros you find at most Mexican restaurants. Inevitably, stuff falls out onto the dish. They are tricky to fold properly because you need to be careful choosing the ingredients you want in, how much of them to use, and fold the tortilla with the right technique. In my case, I fail because amidst my eagerness and hunger put too much stuff in. Also, I lack the motor skills to follow the folding steps properly. In any case, burrito folding’s essence …