Navigating Analytical Discussions for Best Product Fit
14 February, 2022
When Product Manager’s Don’t Think Strategically Ahead of Time
One of the biggest challenges that product communities face is: thinking of products as a holistic experience for their consumers. Typically, product managers focus on one feature, or the first touch experience for their consumers, not the long tail of building a feature to its usability, support, and maintenance or the overall experience.
Let’s take the example of the restaurant business: when a restaurant owner designs their restaurant, their direct product is food, but with that comes the holistic experience that the customers’ get — the check-in process, ambiance, billing process, waiting times, and the overall quality of service. All these aspects need to be considered when a person owns a restaurant, not just focus on the food or part of the experience. The other thing to consider is the consistency of this overall experience. Customers expect to have a repeatable good experience throughout the journey.
In a similar fashion, at one of the previous companies I worked at, product managers focused on building the product with no plan on how a product performs OR how customers engage with or experience the product once the feature is built. It is thrown over the wall to the support teams.
Have an Analytical Mindset
To begin with, it was important to point out the risks of that approach and tie them to the goals and objectives of the business. It’s all about risk management and mitigation. When dealing with a digital product, factors like performance, disaster recovery, compliance, and availability need to be factored in. Taking all those categories, pointing out the risks, and not managing them well eventually drags back your goals or metrics that you are measuring it against, not to mention a lot of unhappy customers.
Convincing your product managers on all those aspects is crucial because not everyone can or spend time thinking through all the ‘what if’ scenarios. Always translate the risks back into the language that they are comfortable with, and that would help others make their decisions diligently. Don’t forget to convince the senior management or other stakeholders related to the product group on why it is essential to think through those factors.
We tried to think through all the dimensions — accessibility, availability, resilience, maintainability, and scalability — and standardized those across different products in terms of the tactical part. Afterward, we had the engineering team build those into the product as they were designing the front-end and the functional aspects of the product. That’s how we brought everything together.
- Translate the technical jargon into the language that most leaders understand.
- Try to standardize most of the requirements because as your business grows exponentially, you won’t have the time to keep repeating or building the same thing over and over.
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