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Lean Product Management

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Lean Product Management

Dan Olsen, CEO, Your Version

Silicon Valley Product Camp
April 2, 2011

  • Slides posted at http://www.slideshare.net/dan_o/lean-product-management-at-silicon-valley-product-camp-by-dan-olsen 
  • Lean Product Management – take off on lean manufacturing – cost efficiencies
  • Why lean? – do more with less: time, budget
  • Formula for product-market fit: meets customer needs, better than competitors, easy to use, good value/price – hard part is accomplishing this
  • Frameworks for identifying/prioritizing requirements:
    • Problem space vs. solution space:
      • Customer problem/requirement vs. specific implementation to address the requirement
      • Example:  ability to write in space (zero gravity) Russians used a pencil rather than a spend $1M R&D on  a space pen
      • Turbo tax vs Tax Cut – biggest competitor is pencil and paper – how to differentiate from “roll your own” or indirect competition:   audit, check, maximize returns (empowerment and time and money savings benefits)
    • Importance vs. low satisfaction = quadrant for evaluation requirements – target opportunity quadrant (high importance and low satisfaction)
    • Kano model = user satisfaction vs dissatisfaction of Y axis and need met vs not met on X axis – delighter (creates wow factor) vs performance (nice to have) vs must have (cost of entry)
    • Analyze competition along these same frameworks
  • Ruthless prioritization
    • High, medium, low priority + rank order – every feature can’t be high
    • Tie back to key benefits that meet high level business and product strategy
    • Issue: shared development resources with competing product priorities
    • Measure vlue created against investment (developer time)
    • Goal:  high customer value for low development time; strip down features to speed up time to market
  • User benefits vs. ease of use
    • If user benefits roughly equal, ease of use always wins
    • UI Design iceberg:  above  is visual design; below: interaction design, information architecture, and conceptual design at base
    • Read:  Jesse james Garrett’s “Elements of User Experience chart” at www.jjg.net
    • Be deliberate about UI design rather than achieve de facto design because you didn’t plan it
  • Customer feedback: customers  can’t articulate solutions but can describe pain points and react to solutions (very true for consumer, web and app solutions; less for other domains)
    • Enterprise customers more likely to be domain experts and be able to contribute to articulating solution
    • Smoke screen – test marketing messages with fake web page to test appeal
    • “Ramen“ customer feedback (low tech/low cost) – PM moderates, use laptop to present concept and note taker
      • Use unaided feedback – user stream of consciousness before aided questions
      • Need to encourage candid feedback and not be defensive
      • Include engineers to reduce conflict about requirement priorities
      • Nobody watches video tapes
    • Silverback – tool to view consumer face while evaluating UI – gives non-verbal feedback
  • Case study – service to tailor junk mail
    • Use smokescreen approach to test functionality and user benefits
    • Cluster user benefits to develop product concepts for further testing
    • Further testing improves understanding of feature sets with highest priority
    • Remove features of low priority from coding and improves messages for launch marketing
    • Good market research, product concept testing doesn’t have to be expensive - ~$1500 for respondent fees and about 4 weeks for execution
    • Use metrics to evaluate survey results, e.g., net promoter score, survey.io


  • Key product manager skill:  ability to say no



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