The top 10% of product managers excel at a few of these things. The top 1% excel at most or all of them:
- A 1% PM's thinking won't be constrained by the resources available to them today or today's market environment. They'll describe large disruptive opportunities, and develop concrete plans for how to take advantage of them.
- A 1% PM can make a case that is impossible to refute or ignore. They'll use data appropriately, when available, but they'll also tap into other biases, beliefs, and triggers that can convince the powers that be to part with headcount, money, or other resources and then get out of the way.
- A 1% PM knows how to get 80% of the value out of any feature or project with 20% of the effort. They do so repeatedly, launching more and achieving compounding effects for the product or business.
- A 1% PM knows how to sequence projects. They balance quick wins vs. platform investments appropriately. They balance offense and defense projects appropriately. Offense projects are ones that grow the business. Defense projects are ones that protect and remove drag on the business (operations, reducing technical debt, fixing bugs, etc.).
Forecast and measure
- A 1% PM is able to forecast the approximate benefit of a project, and can do so efficiently by applying past experience and leveraging comparable benchmarks. They also measure benefit once projects are launched, and factor those learnings into their future prioritization and forecasts.
- A 1% PM grinds it out. They do whatever is necessary to ship. They recognize no specific bounds to the scope of their role. As necessary, they recruit, they produce buttons, they do bizdev, they escalate, they tussle with internal counsel, they *.
Understand technical trade-offs
- A 1% PM does not need to have a CS degree. They do need to be able to roughly understand the technical complexity of the features they put on the backlog, without any costing input from devs. They should partner with devs to make the right technical trade-offs (i.e. compromise).
Understand good design
- A 1% PM doesn't have to be a designer, but they should appreciate great design and be able to distinguish it from good design. They should also be able to articulate the difference to their design counterparts, or at least articulate directions to pursue to go from good to great.
Write effective copy
- A 1% PM should be able to write concise copy that gets the job done. They should understand that each additional word they write dilutes the value of the previous ones. They should spend time and energy trying to find the perfect words for key copy (button labels, nav, calls-to-action, etc.), not just words that will suffice.
Place your feature concepts in one of three buckets:
These are features that will move your target business & product metrics significantly. In most healthy product organizations, there are specific goals and strategies behind the decision to invest in a product or feature. Engagement. Growth. Revenue. Typically, very few features are actually metrics movers. Know which ones they are ahead of time, because in the end, the judgment of whether your product or roadmap succeeded or failed will rest on the evaluation of the metrics.
These are features that your customers are actively requesting. There is no mystery here. Listen to your customers, and know which features they want to see the most. You don’t necessarily want to implement every suggestion, but product professionals need to listen to direct requests carefully, with humility and deep consideration. Nothing irritates customer more that to see you roll out new features that exclude the ones that they have already identified and requested actively.
These are features that customers haven’t necessarily asked for, but literally delight them when they see them. Typically these are features that require several ingredients: listening to customers to understand their pain points, leveraging a knowledge of technology to know what might be possible, and innovative design to come up with an unexpectedly elegant & delightful experience.
Make a process framework that works for you
Define the feature in priority
Project strategy is the key
Customer Research – through Interviews, Surveys, FGDs, Observations etc.
Understanding competition including mystery shopping
Understanding your own company’s strengths and weaknesses
Research market, research competition, Research company
Add delighters, must have, Needle Mover
Always think personalized user experience, customization and contextual
FAQs and Customer Feedback loop
Who are you solving problem for
How is problem being solved currently
Promotion and advertising
Ideally, your product vision should describe the impact your product will have on your customers’ lives. Your vision lets your team and your customers know exactly how your product will benefit them today and in the future.
If your product vision is the long-term outcome you hope to deliver with your product, then your product strategy defines how you’ll get there. Your strategy is also the link between your roadmap and your product vision—the strategy turns the vision into actions you can take to achieve those long-term goals.
What are the emotional reactions you’re hoping to get from your users every time you release a feature?
What unique purpose will your product fulfill in the market?
What are the valuable aspects you need to build into your product?
What resources (time, effort, money) does the company have to achieve that value?
What are the limitations and possible snags your product might face in the market?
— what you want your product to become in the future.
— an execution plan detailing what your company is going to do to meet the vision.
— a time-bound objective that can be measured by a specific metric.
— broad themes that unite features that must be implemented to achieve a goal.
— an actual piece of a product that’s either part of functionality or a third-party application.
— dates or time periods for a certain goal or feature to be finished. As a rule, a product roadmap suggests only an approximation.
— used to track the progress of work.
— assistance in the measurement data-driven goals, e.g. churn rate or organic traffic.
Feature requests from customers.
Feature gaps that are blocking sales deals.
Common user workflows that have been discovered through customer research.
Overall product strategy of the organization.
Feasibility of solutions.