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?

Read on for my answer:

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Back(log) to the Future – story arcs, roadmaps and product themes

Last time I published an article explaining why I thought roadmaps were a little like DVD box sets.   DonorDrive product manager Kasey Marcum (@kaseymarcum) asked in the comments:

“Always enjoy your posts, Jock! I really love the high level idea of this. What does this actually look like in the wild?”

Imagine your roadmap and sprints being as engaging as a hit movie – just think how much easier they’d be to “sell” to your stakeholders and customers!  Let’s see how you can do this.

Back to the Future

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Link of the Day: Kano tutorial via Mountain Goat Software

Kano: mandatory, linear and exciter features impact customer satisfaction differently

An intriguing and nonintuitive aspect of customer satisfaction is that sometimes the feature that provides the most satisfaction is one that customers didn’t know they wanted until they saw it. – Mike Cohn

For how long have you been prioritising features without taking customer satisfaction into consideration?  Kano analysis provides a great way to understand which are the mandatory features you need in your product just to play the game, which increase satisfaction in a linear fashion, and which are the features that will delight and excite your customers.

Take a read here: I Didn’t Know I Needed That! | Mountain Goat Software.

5: The best possible way may not necessarily be the right way

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

We product managers are a surprisingly upbeat bunch considering that we seem to spend a good proportion of our time making compromises.  We very rarely get the opportunity to deliver everything we need in a product.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however.  We very rarely have truly ultimate say-so on the scope of a project; there’s always someone higher ranking that likes to make their mark on the world.  Similarly, technology has a habit of getting in the way sometimes.  Or pesky compliance issues.  And so on.

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2: Find problems rather than guess solutions

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

We’re product managers.  We’re in charge of the future direction of our products.  But when we start thinking about the requirements for a new product version, I bet we all make the same mistake when deciding what goes in.

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7 guiding principles for product install/upgrade usability

I was discussing recently the importance of getting a product installation or upgrade process right for customers.  Here are some guiding principles from a usability perspective that you may wish to consider when defining your product’s requirements.

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33 cut-out-and-keep usability requirements for your product

I strongly believe that all software companies should have a manifesto or a set of guidelines which set out in practical terms how they will ensure that their products are intuitive for the types of user for which they’re intended.

Good Design Quote courtesy of inspireUX

For product managers, even if your company or Development team doesn’t “get” usability, you can build these into your product requirements and use your Quality Assurance team to check the requirements have been delivered.

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Pay attention to local requirements

I was reading the Evening Standard last night on the tube home. It’s a filthy habit, but it  avoids having to make eye-contact with other Londoners. For the uninitiated, social interaction was seemingly banned on public transport in London several decades ago.

While I freely admit that the quality of journalism in the Evening Standard is precisely what you’d expect from a free newspaper, one article (with coherent sentences and everything) about how 3G iPads may not roam around the EU due to a legal technicality started me thinking about the extent to which local details can affect the successful launch of international products.

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By way of an introduction

Why write a blog?

Up until recently if someone had suggested that I start writing a blog (or twittering, but that’s a story for another time) I would most likely have unfurled my ‘To Do’ list with a flourish, watched the unrolling end bounce off the floor and gestured vaguely into the distance.

So what’s changed?

blogging is ridiculous because the word to me sounds faintly unsanitary

Before I became a product manager, I used to write a great deal more, not only relatively serious essays and papers, but also creative nonsense and frivolous, fictional articles mainly for the amusement of friends who shared the same daft sense of humour.

As a product manager, the most creatively I’ve written recently has been to use an adjective in a use case once, though I had to remove it in a subsequent draft of my requirements document following a complaint Development escalated to my line manager.

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