Blog Post: Determining #Product Value

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.

Blog Post: Determining #Product Value

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Blog Post: A different take on the war of map apps

In full disclosure, once Google Maps was re-released in the iOS App Store, I added it to my home screen and haven’t looked back. Every once in a while, Siri makes me use Apple’s version, but that’s it.

The Cupertino giant has the same problem as other tech companies in that they can’t find enough good talent. It’s unfair to make them catch up to Google who is years ahead in development and resources.

Perhaps Apple decided to change the tenor of the pace by altering its focus.

The shared link today comes from GigaOm details the recent purchase of indoor location startup WifiSlam by Apple. This industry is not an unknown to Google, they already employ it in many countries in public locations. If Apple could get a step ahead of their main competitor in this space, however, think how the conversation could change in regard to mobile applications.

WifiSlam uses wifi signals to position devices within a 2.5 meter radius of your location. Just think how that could change app development in the next few years.

I’m not naive enough to think this could be in time for iOS 7, but what about next years WWDC? Interesting indeed.

Blog Post: A different take on the war of map apps

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