October 18, 2023

Product management approach

Almost universal product management strategy that's suitable for many product types and markets. It can guide you through the stages of innovation in order.
Product management approach

Before initiating the PM process, ensure you're familiar with key concepts such as :

Product-Market Fit and Problem/Solution space

MVP

Lean Manufacturing and Product management (optional).

You can deepen your understanding by clicking on the links above or through every step of our journey.

When it comes to product design, anchoring yourself in two pivotal realms is essential: the Problem Space and the Solution Space. To illustrate it use following diagram.

Product-market fit pyramid

Now lets unpack Lean Product management framework  step by step (its a big trunk, with many new informational branches will be attached to it), we will go each layer of pyramid starting from the bottom, as it is important to address bottom layers before jumping to solutions:

1. Getting to Know Your Users:

We start from the bottom layer of our pyramid, where we need to understand our potential customers.

Product-market fit pyramid, target customer
  • Sketch Out Your User Groups: Segment your users. Remember, users aren't just a monolithic block; they have unique facets. Unraveling these facets can be done in myriad ways. Read more about user segmentation.
  • Pinpoint Your Tech Adoption Phase: Identify where you stand in the technology adoption life cycle. Read more.
  • Breathe Life into User Personas: Personify your typical users. This helps in visualizing their needs, behaviors, and aspirations. Read more about user persona.

2. Unearthing Customer Needs that Often Go Unnoticed:

When we know who are our potential customers and have their user personas, lets try to determine, if there are needs that not fully addressed now and we will sort and prioritize them.

Product-market fit pyramid, undeeserved needs
  • Initiate the Dialogue: Sure, you can make assumptions, but there's no substitute for genuine conversation. Engage with customers, ask them about their likes, dislikes, and the gaps they see in existing products. About user research types you can read here. Some of common errors during gathering requirements, you can read here.
  • Narrate the User's Tale: Frame user stories, anchoring them in this format: "As a [user group], I want [specific feature/requirement], so that I can [derive a particular benefit].". Read more about user stories
  • Probing Deeper: Techniques like the '5 Whys' or the 'Ladder Method' can be invaluable here. They'll help you peel back layers and get to the real crux of user needs. Read more about laddering technique.
  • Forge Hypotheses: Frame your hypotheses. A simple structure could be, "I believe that [specific user group] would find [proposed feature/solution] advantageous.". Read more: Part 1 - Definition and formulating,
  • Validate Your Hypotheses: Engage with users and test your assumptions. One-on-one customer discovery interviews can be particularly enlightening. Read more. : Part 2 - testing hypothesis
  • Check needs Using Maslow's Hierarchy: While all needs matter, some take precedence over others. Maslow's framework can provide clarity here, helping prioritize. Read more.
  • Prioritize needs Using Importance vs. Satisfaction: Understand the balance. Some needs might be crucial but are already well-satisfied by existing solutions, while others may represent gaps in the market. You need to establish what needs are actually create most product value. Read more: part 1, part 2, part 3.

3. Lets thing what value our product can bring:

Next step will be focused on our product. From problem space we are moving to solution space.

This stage involves pinpointing your product's unique selling proposition. This underscores the particular consumer requirements your product will cater to and delineates how it stands out from its competitors. As you define the needs your product targets, you concurrently rule out certain benefits it won’t provide (yes yes yes, we shouldn't be addressing all problems in the world)

Product-market fit pyramid, value preposition

  • Initiate your company vision and what general strategy you prefer to approach. It is more important if you are in hardware/consumer products business. You can use Porter’s Generic Strategies for this. Read more about this framework.
  • Initiate by identifying the consumer needs you aim to fulfill.Using the Kano model,  categorize needs into must have, performance and delighters and compare your product with potential competitors, to determine how you will differentiate your product. For instance: if your company and product planned to be cost leadership, you might consider only have must-have features with minimal cost. Read more about Kano model.
  • Formulate everything in a paper, to make sure all stakeholders agree with this division (get buy-in), to make sure team moves in the same direction and we don't generate any waste. Read more.
  • When mapping out your value proposition, anticipating the future is key. This future-centric approach minimizes the risk of charting a path that might become less relevant or suboptimal in forthcoming scenarios. Refine your prepared value preposition spreadsheet with anticipated offer in the future("later'). Read more.

4. Feature set, testing ideas and ideation MVP

With a solid grasp on your value proposition, the subsequent phase is determining the feature set for your potential minimum viable product (MVP). Instead of diving headfirst into designing a product that fulfills your entire value proposition, which could be time-consuming and fraught with risk, focus on the MVP. Your goal is to pinpoint the most basic features necessary to confirm that your trajectory is correct and test them with the customers before diving deep into production. Why we only creating concepts and planning you can understanding by reading blog post about MVP.

Product-market fit pyramid, feature set
  • Before you proceed, make sure you understand these ideas:

About what is MVP and basic concepts you can read here.

About Lean concepts that are important way of thinking when you working on MVP you can read here.

About different types of hypothesis testing you can read here.

About MVP testing you can read in these posts:

More statistical concepts are here.

How to determine sample size and what is confidence interval, you can read in this blog post

  • Using your value preposition reiterate user stories and break them down to small pieces. Estimate using story points. Read more.

What is user stories and how to create them.

  • Prioritize user stories using your MVP and ROI.
  • Decide features that will go to MVP.
  • Test hypothesis and MVP concept

5. Create UX and MVP

In this juncture of the Lean Product Journey, clarity emerges about the features envisioned for your MVP. The crown jewel, User Experience (UX), positioned atop the Product-Market Fit Pyramid, is the magic that animates your product's features, transforming them into tangible benefits for the user. No matter the perfection in choices made in the pyramid's preceding tiers, product-market fit remains elusive without impeccable UX. Performing all steps we already finished we minimize risk of product fail, and keep our journey to finall success.

Product-market fit pyramid, user experience (UX)
  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3

Reiterate.

Mind map for the process:

Conclusion

Wow. Good Job, you finished this long post. I hope you enjoyed it.

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