In any case, product managers should not be afraid to pause feature development or deprecate a feature once they receive confirmation that it’s not effectively solving a customer problem. Building products iteratively can help PMs de-risk their efforts, especially when approaching new markets or problem areas.
What is the customer’s experience today, and why is it a problem? What is the customer’s new experience with the product once it’s been launched? What would a customer say about how the product helps them? (ie. it’s faster, it solves a new need)
When planned features are mapped to critical customer problems and coupled with goals and benchmarks, product managers can confidently push back against extraneous feature requests that may arise during the development process.
A documented strategy that contains clear problem statements and specific, measurable outcomes can help protect PMs from building unnecessary features.
Adept product managers should ensure that they’re not letting the loudest voices in the room have the greatest impact on their strategy and roadmap.
It’s also important to check one’s own biases while developing new products and features.
The most common pitfall I’ve seen is not having clear desired outcomes and goals before work even starts. Without knowing what your desired outcome is and how you’ll measure progress against it, there’s no way to know if features are performing well and why.
Just because they’re asking for a feature doesn’t mean it will be used or have long-term benefits for the company.
New or aspiring product managers should also be aware that data won’t—and shouldn’t—make strategic decisions for them. It’s important for PMs to use data as a tool to make better decisions while acknowledging that a ‘perfect’ dataset may be unavailable.
If you’re working on a more mature product or are in the growth space, it’s more likely that you’re optimizing a product. In those situations, data will be extremely critical to your day-to-day decision-making through things like A/B testing. If you’re going from 0-1 with a product, your current data set is likely limited. In a green space, it’s more likely that you’re thinking about how to build out datasets and new learnings through iterative development
Product strategies that include a clear vision for the customers’ experience as well as goals and benchmarks can help product managers remain accountable to their customers, even when challenged by stakeholders.
s who routinely gather customer data and feedback and scope out new opportunities with diligence will excel in consistently providing value to users. As a part of this process, PMs can leverage opportunity scoring frameworks, market sizing techniques, and incremental development models.
PMs must work to check their own biases when adding new features to a product.
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