One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is the exchange of ideas. There are practical exchanges with my team, colleagues and customers that impact the work we do on a daily basis. Then there are the theoretical exchanges that happen online with other product people that either enforce or correct current mindsets I have about being the best that I can.
I think it’s important for anyone, regardless of your profession (including stay-at-home parents), to have those kinds of conversations. You can improve performance, discover new developments, and be encouraged to stay the course.
All of those reasons are why I enjoyed this read from Ken Norton, who is a former product manager at Google.
Reading the post reminded me that value is determined in a number of ways. Being so close to our product, it is easy to be blinded by the glaringly obvious. The feature or fix you thought previously so important could actually be of little value to the end user.
“Our wish list approach also created false equivalence. There was a huge chasm between what #1 meant to us and what it meant to our users. For us, it was first amongst equals. To them it was a painful tumor overdue for removal.”
What chasm am I missing in my road map between two features? Do I have something ranked inappropriately?
Often, I am presented with “quick win” ideas by business. In the development team room, this notion is sometimes scoffed at because it can seem like we are placating to the customer instead of telling them what is really important. What I think Mr. Norton posits is that in reality, regardless of however “quick” the “win” is, the request holds real value to the customer.
Sure, the possibility exists that the customer is asking for unnecessary items. Opinions can always be shaped. The important thing to remember is to weigh all of the opinions and make the best decision with the data you have.
Only then can you posit that your product has the highest value to most of the users.