Expensive and risky assumptions (and why you should check them)

I gave a talk recently about how I’ve been using data and analytics to guide my decisions in product management. I’ve edited the transcript a little and split it into bite-size parts for your entertainment. This bit is about expensive and risky assumptions (and why you should check them).

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Q&A: how do I get my waterfall organisation to be more agile?

I was recently asked this question:

How would you recommend working with organisations, who are used to a traditional / waterfall approach, transition towards agile / iterative development?

Here’s my response:

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Q&A: how do I distil users’ wish lists of requirements to a core handful?

I was recently asked this question:

Can you make suggestions of how best to distil users’ wish lists of requirements/outcomes to a core handful that will encompass most people’s problems?

Here’s my answer:

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55: How to beat writer’s block

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

For a variety of reasons, in the last few months I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing regularly. And just as I fool myself that having a gym membership is the same as exercising regularly, so also I need to remind myself that blogs don’t write themselves.

Over the last few months I’ve been working with another set of great, challenging and occasionally misguided clients. They’ve been pleased with the results I’d helped them to achieve, and I’ve been able to learn a huge amount from working with them.

In turn, this has given me plenty to write about on the topics of product management, user research and changing the way organisations work and behave, so I’ll be sharing this with you bit by bit over the next few articles.

But as a writing warm-up – I don’t want my writing muscle to cramp – here are a few of my procrastination-beating tips for beating writer’s block.

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Starting with a guess: how to use data creatively

 

Bug Counts

The good folks at Product Coalition interviewed me the other day as part of their “Data-Driven Product Manager” series.

The interview covers things like:

  • thinking about outcomes, not outputs;
  • alignment with broader goals;
  • finding and measuring leading indicators; and
  • the 5 most important metrics for product managers.

Have a read!

Starting with a guess: How to use data creatively with Product Expert Jock Busuttil over on Medium.

Building a product community in government

We have many product-minded people in the Government Digital Service (GDS) and across government, but we’re only just beginning to operate as a community. I’m currently helping GDS out and have written a post for their blog on how we’re beginning to improve things.

Do have a read.

Group of 'product people' from the DWP digital academy #transformingtogether

Communities of people inspiring each other

Over the last few years across government, we have collectively learnt a huge amount about how to create products and services that truly meet user needs.

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54: How to stop common B2B dysfunctions in the product team

For those of you who work in business-to-business (B2B) companies, how many of these sound familiar?

“Our product team is always called in to fight customer fires post-sale.”

“Sales people bring product managers along to answer customers’ techie questions.”

“The product team isn’t allowed to speak to customers unless they’re in a sales meeting.”

“Our sales team will often sell something that doesn’t exist, then make it the product team’s problem to make it happen.”

“Our product backlog is full of priority feature requests that the sales person says the customer needs before they’ll purchase.”

You’re not going crazy – nor are you alone. These are common dysfunctions plaguing product teams in B2B companies the world over.

How do you stop them happening? Read on for some suggestions.

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How product managers can build a healthier relationship with the sales team

At some point, all product managers will find themselves wondering how they can build a healthier relationship with the sales team. I’ve written a guest post for the good folks at Mind The Product that offers some practical suggestions.

Have a read!

“How to Stop Common B2B Dysfunctions in the Product Team” on Mind The Product’s blog.

Square Peg in a Round Hole_0565

53: THIS is what product-market fit looks like

Product-market fit is one of those concepts that seems relatively straightforward in theory but ends up being elusive in practice. Finding your way to product-market fit is an iterative process reliant on lots of appropriate, good quality research and validation, also known as customer development. But what does product-market fit actually look like when you get there?

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52: It only takes one bottleneck

600x712_SmartGates AustraliaI’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

I was working for a month in Australia a little while ago. On my arrival I was initially really impressed by the slick service design of their automated SmartGate immigration process. Until I found myself back to having to fill in declaration cards with a pen, that is. It just goes to show that good design work can be easily undermined by one poorly thought-out step in the process.

(In a rare flash of common sense, I thought it prudent to publish this article some time after I’d safely made it back to the UK. Y’know, just in case…)

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