Products that delight or exceed customer expectations are well positioned to succeed in the market place. Adherence to some “design thinking” principles below help Product Managers define and build successful products. With a good grasp of the customer problem, follow the steps outlined below.
1. Great products are built by Product Managers that truly empathize with their customers. In order to do this, get into their skin, walk in their shoes to experience their pain/problem. You can either shadow them or actually do their job. Interview potential customers regarding their tasks – ask them the “why, what, when, how”. Question the complexity or time needed to complete a task.
2. Capture all your learning. Take pictures or videos. Process all the learning. Separate facts from opinions. Get clarification if required. Build “customer journey maps” that tell their story. Capture emotions during the journey map. It will guide you to the focus areas and “key moments of truth”.
3. Ensure that you have a clear definition of the problem you are going after in the customer journey map. Capture the outcomes and align on how success will be measured. Be aware of assumptions, get clarification if needed.
4. Creatively brainstorm ideas to solve the problem. Dream big. Use some brainstorming techniques like “Affinity Diagrams” with post it notes. Unleash the team’s imagination. Be patient and inclusive to diverse ideas.
5. Quickly build a prototype. Use simple tools. Speed and learning is more important than getting it right the first time. At this stage debate, experiment, fail, and learn. Sharpen ideas with feedback, reflection, and adjustment. It saves time and money in the long run.
6. Test the prototype with customers. Get a diverse sample of potential customers to collect a holistic set of opinions. Observe the customer using the product without participating and influencing reactions. Ask open ended questions.
7. Debrief together to share customer responses. Iterate changes in the prototype based on the comments. Take it out for another test drive with a different set of customers.
8. Once you feel satisfied that you have customer validation build the MVP (minimum viable product). Again, don’t wait for perfection. “Go with your gut”. Document all assumptions.
9. Take the MVP for a trial run with beta customers. Perceive customer reactions and learn from them.
10. Launch the product, gather and synthesize reactions, and improve. Repeat the process with another customer problem.
For more information on Design Thinking : http://dschool.stanford.edu/
This evening I attended an event hosted by Techwomen at Juniper Networks in the Bay Area. Symantec has been a sponsor for Techwomen since 2011 when I was a technical mentor in the inaugural class of the program.
TechWomen is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is managed by the Institute of International Education’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives. TechWomen empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.
Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education gave some thoughts regarding the program followed by Lee A. Satterfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Subsequently, Sheila Casey from the US state department led a panel discussion comprising of 3 mentors and I mentee from Jordan who went back and started an online eCommerce company. It was exciting to hear their experiences with the program.
To learn more about Techwomen or get involved visit:
For those in Mountain View, Techwomen is accepting Technical Mentor applications Through June 1. Cultural mentor applications are open from June 1 through August 1 via the website above.
For a program or business transformation, effective change management is critical for success. We sometimes are immersed on getting to the finish line without paying attention to the impact the deliverables will have on an organization. Effective change management could significantly impact the outcome.
Some key points to remember are the following:
10. Reward the desired behavior/response to change. It will encourage adoption.
9. Have the right metrics in place to measure success along the way. Course correct if you see risks.
8. If training is required for adoption, plan, prepare, build, pilot test and rollout.
7. Recognize and manage resistance to change. Timely action is required if resistance comes from influencers.
6. Ensure the right resources to manage the change lifecycle are available. These include people, technologies and processes.
5. Explain what the change means for each impacted party. Take the time to do this well as it directly impacts adoption.
4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. We can never have enough of this. Use all mediums available; newsletters, blogs, social media used in your environment, collaboration tools, town hall meetings so that folks can ask questions.
3. Build a stakeholder map and align with them. Ensure they are engaged, informed and supportive during the change lifecycle.
2. Reason for change. The Why? Take the time to explain the reason for change. Why it is necessary? How it will benefit the organization?
1. Executive sponsorship for change is important. You need a strong leader to champion the cause and help drive. You may need assistance to address resistance if its impact hinders change.
Reading References – How to Implement Successful Change in our Personal Lives and Professional Careers by Jeffrey M. Hiatt
I came across this presentation by Mary Meeker last year. Since I just started the blog, I thought it was worth posting as the content is relevant and thought provoking.
Here is a link to Mary Meeker’s presentation on the internet. Interesting analysis, thoughts and predictions. A must read. The concept of re-imagination of everything will bring back good memories for some. Yesterday I was at my daughter’s school learning about the new Common Core State Standards and learned that when today’s grade school students enter the workforce, 65% will be working in jobs that that have not yet been created. This presentation leads me to believe that there is a lot yet to be imagined as Mary states. Enjoy!