Less is more says Sketchdeck's David Mack.
In Summary: Many psychological factors collude to prevent Product Managers shipping early and often. These include pride, perfectionism, scope creep and fear (of criticism & of rejection).
But the feedback, data, and learning you get from releasing Version 0 far outweighs the minor damage you may incur from shipping early. When anyone is working on something new at Sketchdeck, they share an early version of it. These are called 'mini-demos' and can occur after only a day's work.
'Mini demos' are fundamental to creating a collaborative culture and serve as a 'forcing-function' to get stuff started and working quickly. Early and often is the key to product success.
You're doing it wrong, says Avrum.
In Summary: The MVP is a great tool when utilised correctly. But it rarely is. Faulty execution is a symptom of a fundamental misunderstanding of what an MVP is, and what problem it actually solves.
If an MVP is needed, don’t optimise for speed to market or building as little as possible. Instead, optimise for validation. If there’s nothing distinct about your approach, don’t build an MVP! It's the wrong tool because there’s nothing new to validate.
An MVP isn’t a singular event. It’s a continuous process. It’s a mindset that should pervade everything you do. You bought yourself the time to iterate and refine, so don’t panic and pivot too quickly.
An MVP isn’t a shortcut or a life-hack. An MVP might actually take longer because you spend more cycles iterating until you’ve nailed it. The benefit isn’t speed, it's building products people want to use that solve actual problems.
Yerrie Kim from EFSet examines the essential skills necessary for early-stage Product Managers vs. growth-phase Product Managers.
In Summary: In the early stage, the key customer is the product team itself who are trying to make sense of what you’re trying to build. Iterating as quickly as possible helps everyone learn faster.
As you enter the growth phase, the PM's role is to put processes in place to maintain quality and speed of delivery. To do this you need to understand Agile, Scrum and TDD as well as how your team co-ordinates development, QA and release management.
As product and team grow, PMs may find themselves managing multiple products. Early stage chaos can increase, so PMs must shield teams and remove distractions that pull them away from their areas of expertise.
Drift's Aja Frost surveys the landscape for user testing tools.
In Summary: Product Managers always need ways to test their product with users (both before and after release) but the range of options can be overwhelming.
Aja highlights flexibility of testers, choice of task and speed as the most important qualities to look for when selecting a tool.
From quick, easy solutions like TryMyUI and UsabilityHub to survey tools like Loop11 and established names like UserTesting and UserZoom, Aja deftly summarises the value proposition and key benefits of each.
Segment's Peter Reinhardt on how and when to select tools for understanding your customers.
In Summary: It can be challenging to untangle what analytics tools to select. To help out, Peter has developed a 'starting checklist' for Product Managers.
Peter sees a common pattern in product teams as they expand their toolsets to understand more about their business. Quantitative tools help funnel failures or successes. Qualitative tools are more diagnostic and reveal why things are happening.
Success comes from implementing a tool, using it and making decisions with the data it’s serving up to you. Successful companies constantly experiment with new tools and cut back if they don't work. They verify through short trials not a long research process.
2 sides of the same coin says Nis Frome.
In Summary: The value of a product isn't just the software. Customers buy products because of what those products enable them to do, the value of which is communicated and partially delivered (in the form of education) through content.
Content marketing initiatives are most effective when focused on evangelising a best practice that is enabled by the organisation’s product offering. HubSpot is an example of a company that recognises this. They believe that a methodology, not a product, is “the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business.”
Content that conveys ‘commercial insight’ is the most impactful type of content.