How to build a Product

Please be mindful of the fact that these are some notes I collected and found useful which I felt like sharing with the community. None of them are my originals unless mentioned. Due credits have been mentioned, please reach out in case you find any error.


Processes


  1. The product, target user and product market fit

  2. User stories

    1. As a _____, I want to _____, so that I can _____.

    2. Epics are larger story that can be further broken down into multiple smaller user stories.

    3. Define pain points in user stories

    4. Write contextual user stories

  3. JIRA/Trello

  4. Agile/SDLC/Kanban/Scrum

  5. Total Addressable Market and Market share

  6. Customer retention/churn rate

  7. Win/loss rate

  8. Fake Door Testing

  9. Product NPS score

  10. Revenue (recurring, non-recurring), OpEx and Gross Margin

  11. Customer acquisition cost

  12. Average discount

  13. Growth (Revenue, Market Share)


The business works because


  1. Keep the costs low

  2. Have a highly technical team

  3. Be passionate about the product


Ask yourself


  1. How serious is your problem?

  2. How specifically are you solving the problem for first?

  3. Solve a problem people need to solve regularly

  4. How easy are your customers to find?

  5. Does your MVP actually solve the problem?

  6. Get users on your product early (you are not an artist)

  7. Who are the most desperate customers, sell to them first. If it takes 10 months, they are not desperate

  8. Whose business is going to go out of business, without your software?

  9. Be weary of 'customers' who are taking the piss and avoid them

  10. Be cautious with your discounts. Use discounts for urgency but do not devalue your product/service


UX interviews & usability Testing


  1. Framework and ideas to conducting a UX Interview

    1. r/UserExperience

    2. r/ProductManagement

    3. Usability Testing 101

    4. GV’s Guide to UX Research for Startups

    5. GV guide to research

    6. Usefulness Research

  2. Thoughts on Usability testing by Pronoy Chaudhuri

  3. Some Tips on UX Interviews by Renganathan Padmanabhan

    1. Two types of approaches Generative (Problem to Solution) and Evaluative (Solution to Problem)

    2. Plan backward -> set the goal -> present the design to take them to do the task: book a ride in a minute)

    3. Probe into what's not going well -> prepare a very set questionnaire (ethics and inclusion) based on mental models user is used to

    4. Recruit candidates

    5. Information Presentation -> Affinity Mapping (start grouping based on themes to find patterns)

    6. Can you tell me how would you do X task and think out loud on how will you do it? And tell me if you are not able to find anything.

    7. Intuit Follow Me Home Follow Me Home is an Intuit practice that was started by founder Scott Cook early in the company's history. Scott Cook would wait for someone at the local Staples store to buy an Intuit product and then ask to follow the customer home to watch them install and use the product.

      1. The Why P1: Understanding what's important to your customer

      2. The Why P2: Aligning with company OKRs

      3. The What: Knowing what metrics to measure vs. vanity metrics

      4. The How: Instrumentation (adding insets to measure key events)

      5. The Two Pillars of Growth: Acquisition & Retention Metrics

      6. Data Segmentation

      7. Insights (backward-facing) & Forecasting (future-facing)

    8. Calculate/Define Feature vs. Benefit (Value)


Generic Ideation Framework

  1. What is the goal?

  2. Where are we now in relation to that goal?

  3. What is the biggest problem or obstacle standing in the way of me reaching that goal?

  4. How do I try to solve that problem?

  5. What do I expect to happen (hypothesis)


Metrics


  1. Super important: ensure your stats are part of the build process

  2. Should be a sources of ideas for features and solutions

  3. Google Analytics is not optimal; you need an events based analytics solution (Mix panel...) as well

  4. Pick 5-6 simple stats to track, don't overload yourself

  5. Ensure you are tracking if people are using product or not

  6. Maintain a clear spec that you are building that all team members can refer to


Dev cycles


You need to build many things because you do not know what will work. So having short dev cycles and a good technical team is crucial. In addition, getting feedback from quick, scrappy MVPs let you know what you should be building.


  1. Keep them short

  2. Have a single KPI that reflects how you are doing (Money if you charge/Usage if you do not)

  3. Ensure everyone in the company knows what the KPI is and was

  4. Brainstorm solutions (with metrics to support/destroy ideas)

    1. Categorise: New Features & Optimisations/Bug Features/Tests

    2. Prioritise: Easy/Medium/Hard

  5. Decide

    1. Which hard item with impact the KPI the most

    2. Which Medium item...

    3. Which Easy item...

  6. Create the spec for each item

  7. Distribute tasks

  8. Meet once a week or bi-weekly, enough time to get shit done


Pivot or iterate


  1. Give your product time be properly validated

  2. Pivot: Changing problem or Customer

  3. Iterate: Changing the solution

  4. Identifying the problem is the genius

  5. Don't be fake Steve Jobs; iterate and talk to customers

  6. Ask a specific customer what they want and make it (if it makes sense for your KPI


Models


  1. Kellogg Logic Model

  2. KANO Model

  3. Product Market Fit

  4. Manipulation Matrix

  5. The Dangerous Animals of Product Management

  6. What's Your Shape?

  7. PM Competencies at different career levels

  8. Mental Models: Learn How to Think Better and Gain a Mental Edge

  9. Product Management Framework - Train Map

    1. Part 1

    2. Part 2

    3. Part 3


Tips & Tricks


  1. Start Medium or a blog. Product Manager is a critical thinker and the only way for thinkers to be understood and recognized is through writing.

  2. Namelix: Business Name Generator

  3. A Product Manager’s Guide to Saying No

  4. Feature flags and release trains

  5. Self-service model eliminates hand offs. It is great for scaling but runs on trust. This model enables you to do things yourself. However, other teams support you.

  6. Trust > Control. You get control indirectly via trust

  7. If everything is under control then you are going too slow

  8. Limit blast radius and roll out to 1% of users so not everybody is impacted. Therefore, whatever happens happens to small part of product to a small number of users for a short period

  9. A product with zero bugs is a bad product.

  10. Healthy culture helps heal the broken process

  11. Objective decision making overpowers subjective opinions

  12. Know how to solve the problem instead of knowing it all

  13. Users are the best advocates for your product. An advocate brings other users in, resolves problems, and give you actionable feedback to improve your product.

  14. The best way to turn a user into an advocate is to enhance the user in their context.

E.g.: Instead of "I have a good camera", let the product make the user feel "I'm a good photographer!"

How do you do that?

    1. Reduce cognitive load inherent in using your product.

    2. Cognitive load is anything that the user has to learn or keep constantly in mind to use your product.

E.g.: A radio with lots of clearly labelled buttons is better than a radio with one streamlined button that does everything (because you have to learn/remember how it is all done).

    1. Reduce number of choices to be made. (Related to cognitive load above).

    2. Habits/automated tasks.

    3. Make it easier to focus. (Get past Brain's spam filter).

  1. Create a sympathetic product.

    1. Do not make any encountered difficulties the user's fault.

    2. Give users faith that you know what it is really like to figure out your product.

    3. Design all aspects of the product, documentation, marketing, etc., to be in line with user's experiences.

  2. A good product roadmap is a polestar for product teams. It keeps us connected to the longer-term vision so that we don’t get lost in the day-to-day. It’s the strategic counterpart to task lists and opportunity backlogs.

  3. Product Launches and Risk: A Tough Teacher

  4. Tracking competition by Shashank Mehta: Track their job openings. JDs tend to give an idea about their team structure, work type, area etc.

  5. Pricing strategy thoughts by Amul Badjatya

    1. Elasticity curve

    2. Customized pricing according to who the customer is, what can we bundle to upsell/cross-sell stuff, when should we target him, with what message and what medium