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Product
Management
Guide
The PM role defined
What	do	Product	Managers	do?
A Product Manager helps
their team ship the right
product to their users
Josh Elman
A Good Product Manager
knows the market, product,
and competition
A Good Product Manager
communicates the vision &
provides context
A Good Product Manager
is responsible for
communication with internal &
external stakeholders
A Good Product Manager
defines roadmaps &
requirements
A Good Product Manager
creates leverageable
collateral [FAQs, white
papers, presentations…etc.]
A Product Manager is not the
CEO of the product!
Idea Management
How	do	you	manage	ideas?
Where do ideas come from?
• Feedback from active users
• Criticism from non-users
• Input from founders & leaders
• Anyone on the team
How do we evaluate ideas?
Ideas go through
this filter
• Link to Vision or Quarterly Goals
• User pain?
• Percentage of users benefitting
• Impact on business
• Is this a “Step Change” (we expect it’ll give at
least a 2x improvement on the chosen metric)?
• Delighter, Satisfier, or Basic Expectation [Kano
Model]
• Effort/Cost Vs Reward
Market & Competitive Analysis
Know	thy	market!
How do you analyze your target
market?
1. Market Definition
What type of product does the
companies in the market produce?
Who are the group(s) of customers
targeted by these companies?
2. Market Sizing
Top down market sizing
• Find the total market and then estimate
your share of the market
• Optimistic approach
Bottom up market sizing
• How much sales are similar products doing?
• How much of that can you capture?
• A more conservative [read: better] approach
3. Market Growth
The most accurate way to estimate growth
is to study growth drivers such as internet
connectivity, demographic data…etc.
4. Market Attractiveness
5. Market Trends
Market trends are the source of new
opportunities & threats. Examples include:
changes in customer needs, technology
change, government regulations…etc.
How do you analyze your
Competition?
1. Finding Competitors
What problem does your
product solve and for whom?
Use Google
• Google “[your company name] vs “
•How would your users complain
about this problem? Channel your
users
• Search for “site: reddit” or “site:
quora” etc.
4 types of competitors
• Direct competitors
Same problem, same target group
• Indirect competitors
They solve the same problem but in a
different way. Target a different group which
might overlap with yours
4 types of competitors
• Potential competitors
They address a different problem, same
target group
• Substitutes
They address the same core problem but they
take a completely different angle. Typically
target a different group
• Be competitive with direct competitors
• Don’t lose too much customers to indirect
competitors
• Make it hard for potential competitors to
copy you
• Be significantly better than substitutes
2. Competitors Comparison
Compare your company and product
to the competition on several
dimensions in order to be able to
come up with the best strategy and
tactics to compete with them
Keep updating this table as competitors
change their products or something major
happens to them [Ex: funding rounds,
acquisitions…etc.]
Customer Development
The	Four	Steps	to	the	Epiphany!
More startups fail due to a
lack of customers than from a
failure in product
development
However…
We have processes to manage
product development but we
don’t have processes to manage
customer development
“In a startup no facts exist inside
the building, only opinions.”
Steve Blank
The fundamental concept behind
Customer Development is:
don’t hypothesize everything about
your business/product on your
own, talk to prospective customers
and develop an approach that they
are interested in
Types of user interviews
1. Exploratory Interviews
• Goal: explore, look for insights
• What pains do they have? Are they open to
certain solutions?
• Talk about the context in which they would
use your product. Do they have a substitute?
• Ask open ended questions
2. Validation Interviews
• Goal: test hypotheses out
• Hyper-sensitive to bias. Have to be done in
a careful scientific way
• Don’t introduce your theory until the very
end
• Be as subjective as you can when describing
your idea
3. Satisfaction Interviews
• Goal: find out which parts of the product
are good and which are not
• Understand why they are satisfied or
unsatisfied
• Better be done by third-party
4. Efficiency Interviews
• Goal: find out how to improve your product
• Are they using a certain feature?
• When & how do they use it?
• Is it easy and intuitive enough?
Who should you talk to?
Before your have a product
• You probably have some user groups in mind
• Rate your user groups based on the following
criteria:
• Size – how big is the user group?
• Pain : Payment – ratio between how much pain does the
group have compared to how much are they willing to
pay for the solution
• Accessibility – how easily can you get in contact with
these people?
After your have a product
•Use your data to identify the user groups
that will help you reach a certain goal
• Example: interviewing churning users will
help you decrease churn rate
How do you run the interview?
• Create a comfortable environment
- Respond in a neutral, non-judgmental way
- Don’t ask questions that would make them uncomfortable
• Don’t talk about your solution
- Talk about their problems and needs
•Don’t ask hypothetical questions
- Would you like your existing solution better if it did X? the
answers to this type of questions are usually misleading
• Avoid leading questions
The lean startup
Build.	Measure.	Learn.	Repeat
The goal of a startup is to
figure out the right thing to
build – the thing that
customers want and will pay
for – as quickly as possible
The destination is the startup’s vision,
which is achieved by employing a
strategy. The product is the end result of
this strategy
Products change constantly through a
process of optimization. Less frequently,
the strategy may have to change. That
event is called a pivot. The vision rarely
changes
The vision is achieved through
experiments designed to achieve
Validated Learning – the process
of demonstrating empirically that
a team has discovered valuable
truths about a startup’s present
and future business prospects
A MVP [Minimum Viable Product] is a
technique used to start the learning
process as quickly as possible. It’s the
fastest way to go through the loop with
minimum effort
The goal of a MVP is to test
fundamental business
hypotheses
How do you run a MVP
experiment?
1. Figure out your problem/solution set
2. Identify and order your assumptions
based on risk
3. Build testable hypotheses around your
assumptions
4. Establish Minimum Criteria for Success
5. Build MVP strategy
6. Execute MVP experiment
7. Evaluate and learn from the experiment
Identifying assumptions
• What must be true in order for your idea to
be successful
•Examples:
- My customer has problem X
- X matters to my customer [X could be price,
convenience…etc.]
• Riskiest assumption: the one that if it’s not
true, your product will definitely fail
A hypothesis is a single,
written, testable statement of
what you believe to be true,
with regards to the
assumptions you’ve identified
How a hypothesis should look
like?
• For new products:
We believe [target group] will [predicted
action] because [reason]
We believe home owners will let travelers stay at their
homes because they want to make extra money
How a hypothesis should look
like?
• For existing products:
If we [action], we believe [subject] will
[predicted action] because [reason]
If we add facebook login, we believe conversion rate
will improve by 25% because it’s more convenient for
users
Minimum Criteria for Success help you
decide whether your product is worth
building or not
Compare the overall cost of building
what you want with the expected
reward of building it
“if it’s going to cost X, we need to see Y
improvement on Z metric, to justify
giving the go ahead”
Product Development Process
Process	overview	&	key	responsibilities
Speed of iteration >>> Quality of iteration
Data >>> Opinion
Speed without data means you’re
not learning anything
Data without speed means
you’re not learning [& shipping]
fast enough
The Biggest Risk is building
the wrong product
A product that doesn’t
improve success metrics
How do we structure work &
teams?
6 Weeks
Cycles
Each cycle has a theme
Ex: A Better Ride planning
Experience
Each Cycle has a description
• Current status
• Hypotheses
• User tests results/Insights
• NUMBERS
Each Cycle has KPIs
Measures of success
Each Cycle has
2 Deliverables
Big Batch
Big features or stuff that would
take up to 6 weeks to be
completed
Small Batch
Smaller things, tweaks, and minor
adjustments that should take
anywhere from a day to two
weeks to complete
Think it
Low-cost	product	discovery
How do we manage ideas?
Idea Filter
How do we evaluate ideas?
• Link to Vision or Quarterly Goals
• User pain?
• Percentage of users benefitting
• Impact on business
• Is this a “Step Change” (we expect it’ll give at
least a 2x improvement on the chosen metric)?
• Delighter, Satisfier, or Basic Expectation [Kano
Model]
• Effort/Cost Vs Reward
How do we prioritize features?
Value Vs Cost
Opportunity Scoring
Ian McAllister’s Framework
1. Define important themes
2. Prioritize themes
3. Generate ideas
4. Estimate each idea’s impact
5. Estimate each idea’s cost
6. Prioritize ideas within each theme
However…
Product Strategy Rules!
How do we do Specs?
Product Definition Document
How do we build our roadmap?
1. Why our product exists and
how we approach running it
2. Goals & progress against
goals
For each goal, give some context and
explain [numerically] what has
happened in the time since the last
roadmap update
3. Recent updates
What has been delivered since the last
roadmap update? What's gone well,
what hasn't, and what have we
learned?
4. Themes [Current]
What are we going to be focusing on
this quarter?
5. Themes [Near-term]
What are we going to be focusing on
next [1-2]quarter[s]?
6. Themes [Long-term]
What are we going to be focusing on
over the next year?
That’s it for now
This is still a Work In Progress; I’ll keep
updating it regularly
You can reach me on
hussamshams@gmail.com

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Product Management Guide - A Work In Progress

  • 2. The PM role defined What do Product Managers do?
  • 3. A Product Manager helps their team ship the right product to their users Josh Elman
  • 4. A Good Product Manager knows the market, product, and competition
  • 5. A Good Product Manager communicates the vision & provides context
  • 6. A Good Product Manager is responsible for communication with internal & external stakeholders
  • 7. A Good Product Manager defines roadmaps & requirements
  • 8. A Good Product Manager creates leverageable collateral [FAQs, white papers, presentations…etc.]
  • 9. A Product Manager is not the CEO of the product!
  • 11. Where do ideas come from?
  • 12. • Feedback from active users • Criticism from non-users • Input from founders & leaders • Anyone on the team
  • 13. How do we evaluate ideas?
  • 15. • Link to Vision or Quarterly Goals • User pain? • Percentage of users benefitting • Impact on business • Is this a “Step Change” (we expect it’ll give at least a 2x improvement on the chosen metric)? • Delighter, Satisfier, or Basic Expectation [Kano Model] • Effort/Cost Vs Reward
  • 16. Market & Competitive Analysis Know thy market!
  • 17. How do you analyze your target market?
  • 18. 1. Market Definition What type of product does the companies in the market produce? Who are the group(s) of customers targeted by these companies?
  • 20. Top down market sizing • Find the total market and then estimate your share of the market • Optimistic approach
  • 21. Bottom up market sizing • How much sales are similar products doing? • How much of that can you capture? • A more conservative [read: better] approach
  • 22. 3. Market Growth The most accurate way to estimate growth is to study growth drivers such as internet connectivity, demographic data…etc.
  • 24. 5. Market Trends Market trends are the source of new opportunities & threats. Examples include: changes in customer needs, technology change, government regulations…etc.
  • 25. How do you analyze your Competition?
  • 27. What problem does your product solve and for whom?
  • 28. Use Google • Google “[your company name] vs “ •How would your users complain about this problem? Channel your users • Search for “site: reddit” or “site: quora” etc.
  • 29. 4 types of competitors • Direct competitors Same problem, same target group • Indirect competitors They solve the same problem but in a different way. Target a different group which might overlap with yours
  • 30. 4 types of competitors • Potential competitors They address a different problem, same target group • Substitutes They address the same core problem but they take a completely different angle. Typically target a different group
  • 31. • Be competitive with direct competitors • Don’t lose too much customers to indirect competitors • Make it hard for potential competitors to copy you • Be significantly better than substitutes
  • 33. Compare your company and product to the competition on several dimensions in order to be able to come up with the best strategy and tactics to compete with them
  • 34. Keep updating this table as competitors change their products or something major happens to them [Ex: funding rounds, acquisitions…etc.]
  • 36. More startups fail due to a lack of customers than from a failure in product development
  • 37. However… We have processes to manage product development but we don’t have processes to manage customer development
  • 38.
  • 39. “In a startup no facts exist inside the building, only opinions.” Steve Blank
  • 40. The fundamental concept behind Customer Development is: don’t hypothesize everything about your business/product on your own, talk to prospective customers and develop an approach that they are interested in
  • 41. Types of user interviews
  • 43. • Goal: explore, look for insights • What pains do they have? Are they open to certain solutions? • Talk about the context in which they would use your product. Do they have a substitute? • Ask open ended questions
  • 45. • Goal: test hypotheses out • Hyper-sensitive to bias. Have to be done in a careful scientific way • Don’t introduce your theory until the very end • Be as subjective as you can when describing your idea
  • 47. • Goal: find out which parts of the product are good and which are not • Understand why they are satisfied or unsatisfied • Better be done by third-party
  • 49. • Goal: find out how to improve your product • Are they using a certain feature? • When & how do they use it? • Is it easy and intuitive enough?
  • 50. Who should you talk to?
  • 51. Before your have a product • You probably have some user groups in mind • Rate your user groups based on the following criteria: • Size – how big is the user group? • Pain : Payment – ratio between how much pain does the group have compared to how much are they willing to pay for the solution • Accessibility – how easily can you get in contact with these people?
  • 52. After your have a product •Use your data to identify the user groups that will help you reach a certain goal • Example: interviewing churning users will help you decrease churn rate
  • 53. How do you run the interview?
  • 54. • Create a comfortable environment - Respond in a neutral, non-judgmental way - Don’t ask questions that would make them uncomfortable • Don’t talk about your solution - Talk about their problems and needs •Don’t ask hypothetical questions - Would you like your existing solution better if it did X? the answers to this type of questions are usually misleading • Avoid leading questions
  • 56. The goal of a startup is to figure out the right thing to build – the thing that customers want and will pay for – as quickly as possible
  • 57. The destination is the startup’s vision, which is achieved by employing a strategy. The product is the end result of this strategy
  • 58. Products change constantly through a process of optimization. Less frequently, the strategy may have to change. That event is called a pivot. The vision rarely changes
  • 59. The vision is achieved through experiments designed to achieve Validated Learning – the process of demonstrating empirically that a team has discovered valuable truths about a startup’s present and future business prospects
  • 60. A MVP [Minimum Viable Product] is a technique used to start the learning process as quickly as possible. It’s the fastest way to go through the loop with minimum effort
  • 61. The goal of a MVP is to test fundamental business hypotheses
  • 62. How do you run a MVP experiment?
  • 63. 1. Figure out your problem/solution set 2. Identify and order your assumptions based on risk 3. Build testable hypotheses around your assumptions 4. Establish Minimum Criteria for Success 5. Build MVP strategy 6. Execute MVP experiment 7. Evaluate and learn from the experiment
  • 64. Identifying assumptions • What must be true in order for your idea to be successful •Examples: - My customer has problem X - X matters to my customer [X could be price, convenience…etc.] • Riskiest assumption: the one that if it’s not true, your product will definitely fail
  • 65. A hypothesis is a single, written, testable statement of what you believe to be true, with regards to the assumptions you’ve identified
  • 66. How a hypothesis should look like? • For new products: We believe [target group] will [predicted action] because [reason] We believe home owners will let travelers stay at their homes because they want to make extra money
  • 67. How a hypothesis should look like? • For existing products: If we [action], we believe [subject] will [predicted action] because [reason] If we add facebook login, we believe conversion rate will improve by 25% because it’s more convenient for users
  • 68. Minimum Criteria for Success help you decide whether your product is worth building or not Compare the overall cost of building what you want with the expected reward of building it “if it’s going to cost X, we need to see Y improvement on Z metric, to justify giving the go ahead”
  • 70. Speed of iteration >>> Quality of iteration
  • 72. Speed without data means you’re not learning anything
  • 73. Data without speed means you’re not learning [& shipping] fast enough
  • 74.
  • 75. The Biggest Risk is building the wrong product A product that doesn’t improve success metrics
  • 76.
  • 77.
  • 78. How do we structure work & teams?
  • 80. Each cycle has a theme Ex: A Better Ride planning Experience
  • 81. Each Cycle has a description • Current status • Hypotheses • User tests results/Insights • NUMBERS
  • 82. Each Cycle has KPIs Measures of success
  • 83. Each Cycle has 2 Deliverables
  • 84. Big Batch Big features or stuff that would take up to 6 weeks to be completed
  • 85. Small Batch Smaller things, tweaks, and minor adjustments that should take anywhere from a day to two weeks to complete
  • 87.
  • 88. How do we manage ideas?
  • 90. How do we evaluate ideas?
  • 91. • Link to Vision or Quarterly Goals • User pain? • Percentage of users benefitting • Impact on business • Is this a “Step Change” (we expect it’ll give at least a 2x improvement on the chosen metric)? • Delighter, Satisfier, or Basic Expectation [Kano Model] • Effort/Cost Vs Reward
  • 92. How do we prioritize features?
  • 95. Ian McAllister’s Framework 1. Define important themes 2. Prioritize themes 3. Generate ideas 4. Estimate each idea’s impact 5. Estimate each idea’s cost 6. Prioritize ideas within each theme
  • 97. How do we do Specs?
  • 99.
  • 100. How do we build our roadmap?
  • 101. 1. Why our product exists and how we approach running it
  • 102. 2. Goals & progress against goals For each goal, give some context and explain [numerically] what has happened in the time since the last roadmap update
  • 103. 3. Recent updates What has been delivered since the last roadmap update? What's gone well, what hasn't, and what have we learned?
  • 104. 4. Themes [Current] What are we going to be focusing on this quarter?
  • 105. 5. Themes [Near-term] What are we going to be focusing on next [1-2]quarter[s]?
  • 106. 6. Themes [Long-term] What are we going to be focusing on over the next year?
  • 107. That’s it for now This is still a Work In Progress; I’ll keep updating it regularly
  • 108. You can reach me on hussamshams@gmail.com