Great post from Mark Wright's Product Management Toolkit.
In Summary: Do you know your product's story? Few Product Managers would honestly admit they've spent too much time thinking about it. Roadmaps, backlogs and features: yes. But a story?
Donna Lichaw has been emphasising the importance of storymapping in product design for some time but, Mark points out, Sarah Doody was making the case for storytellers in product way back in 2008.
What's the point of articulating your product's story? Put simply, stories remain one of the best vehicles for communication. If you need to sell your product, describe your product or evaluate how to develop your product, then understanding its story is key.
Mark outlines the different forms stories can take: from the circular to the refracted to the classic movie narrative of 'situation-complication-resolution'. Defining a product's story is best achieved through storyboarding, a technique pioneered by Walt Disney and adopted most recently by AirBnB to design their ideal service experience.
Welcome, Microsoft, to the revolution, says Slack's Stewart Butterfield.
In Summary: Last Tuesday, Slack borrowed a trick from the Steve Jobs playbook and took out a full page advert in the New York Times 'welcoming' Microsoft's new chat product, Teams, to the marketplace.
In the ad, Slack poked fun at Microsoft by highlighting the difference between building high growth consumer products and enterprise products, the importance of open vs closed platforms and underscored why passion for your customers' happiness is so vital for success.
Despite Slack's popularity to date, many felt this marketing trick was a BIG mistake. For some, it seemed more like an advert for Microsoft than for Slack, giving the Teams product (which I had never heard of) an incredible amount of free PR.
Even the slickest technology can't overcome the lack of a value proposition, says Outside In's Mat Shore.
In Summary: When Apple Watch came out, Mat predicted it would disappoint based on the simple fact that no one he knew seemed to be able to describe its value proposition.
In his eyes, the Apple Watch committed the sin of 'pushing' not pulling itself into the market. Since then, according to Mat, volumes are down 71.6% vs a year ago, the premium model has been scrapped and Apple Watch's product positioning has been narrowed.
Once the fanboys and early adopters had bought the product, Apple didn't seem to have a story for the mainstream in terms of its relevance to their lives. For Mat, Apple Watch is a classic case of a product company mistakenly selling a drill instead of a hole.
It's pure Nir, says MeddyCo's Haris Aghadi.
In Summary: Haris used to hate reading. So much so that he never read books and only read anything when obliged to do so for his studies. But 2 things changed that: his need to learn about product when he began his startup and his discovery of read-it-later service, Pocket.
These days he uses Pocket 3-5 times each day, the kind of engagement most products can only dream of. To understand how Pocket effected this change in his behavior, Haris analyses the experience through the lense of Nir Eyal's Hook model.
In doing so, he finds that the product easily supports all 5 steps of Nir's model, from the external triggers to the variable rewards.
Haris admits he now gets anxious if he doesn't use Pocket for more than a couple of days. Not such a bad thing if reading is the only fix he craves.
Product Roadmaps are dead, says Firefox' Alex Davis.
In Summary: After 4 years working as a Growth Hacker, Alex recently switched to being a Product Manager on the Firefox Accounts team. The first thing he struggled with was Product Roadmaps, committing to 3 months of features felt like a huge constraint.
On the Growth Team, he was used to trying to move the needle on agreed KPIs, rather than just shipping for the sake of it. In response, he introduced a product development process that considers new features to be experiments against a control, rather than the endpoint for the team.
His team now uses 'Recipes' instead of requirements and a Feature Pipeline instead of a Roadmap. Shipping is now more of an A/B test than a conventional delivery process. This has allowed them to move from OKRs focused on shipping features to OKRs that care about real results.
List joy, from Roman Pichler.
In Summary: Many Product Managers wrestle with overly long and detailed backlogs. Effective backlog management is part-art, part-science.
From the need to complement the backlog with a Product Roadmap, to the importance of saying 'No' and focussing on the next major release, Roman draws on his wealth of experience as a product guru and agile coach to provide the key insights that lead to success.