10 rules for successful products and key roles for product teams

Source: Internet
Author: User
Tags define definition documentation

Article Description: Product Management work summary and experience sharing.

Wen/Marty Cagan translation/Lan Wei Liu Yan

Marty Cagan is a world renowned product management expert who served as vice president of Netscape and senior vice president of product management and design, ebay. This article is a review of his more than 20 years in the management of software products and experience sharing, talked about the success of the product to follow the 10 rules and product team key roles and responsibilities.

I was also young in the mid 1980s and worked as a programmer in HP to develop a high-profile product. It was a great honor for me to join an outstanding team (many colleagues later became the mainstay of the industry) when AI Rage was able to enter the best company in the industry. Our task is not very difficult: the development of software for Low-cost general-purpose workstations. At that time the market was a combination of hardware and software products, each user cost more than 100,000 dollars-few people can afford.

We worked hard for over a year and sacrificed countless nights and weekends. Along the way, we have added a lot of patents for HP, developed in line with HP stringent quality requirements of products, we translate products into a variety of languages to achieve internationalization; We also train the sales team to show the media and receive good feedback. Product release, we thought everything was ready to celebrate.

But the problem arises: no one buys our products.

The product has failed completely in the market. Yes, its technology is refreshing and media feedback is good, but people don't need it. The team members were frustrated with the result. But we soon began to reflect: who has the right to decide what product to develop? How did they decide that? How do they know if the product is going to work?

Our young team has learned a lot and I believe many teams have learned the same lesson from failure: If the product is not market-worthy, no matter how good the development team is. We recognize that it is not enough to make a product, but also to confirm that the product is valuable, usable and feasible.

Tracing back to the root causes of product failure, I found that the people who decide what products to develop are "product managers" who are usually part of the marketing department and are responsible for defining the products we develop. At the same time, I also found that HP was not good at product management. Not only Hewlett-Packard, most companies are not familiar with this, even today some companies still do.

I made up my mind that I would never blindly devote my energy unless I knew that the product was what the user wanted.

After more than 20 years, I was fortunate enough to participate in the development of a variety of High-tech products. When the PC was on the rise, it worked at Hewlett-Packard, when Internet technology broke out, vice president of the Platform and Tools department at Netscape/AOL, and as a senior vice president of product management and design at ebay. Of course, not all products are equally successful, but I can proudly say that none of them is a failure. There are several products popular in the world with tens of millions of users.

Shortly after leaving ebay, I received calls from a number of product companies who wanted to improve the way they developed their products. After working with these companies, I found that the way they work differs greatly from that of a good company. I realized that the work of popularizing the first-class product concept was a long way off. Most companies are using outdated and inefficient ways to define and develop products. At the same time I find that both academic institutions (including the best business courses), and the old-fashioned, unable to extricate themselves (like HP, which I have worked for), are powerless.

I choose this career is to develop customer favorite, reflect the real value of the product. I found that product managers want to create a bright and successful product, unfortunately, most products are lack of creativity, short life. Therefore, I hope that through their own blog posts and books, "Revelation: Create User Favorite Products" (Inspired:how to Create product Customers Love) share the successful experience of outstanding enterprises, so that more products win customers love.

The content of my article

As Netscape Senior Product Manager began, my daily work is clearly divided into three: people, processes, products.

A person is the role and responsibility of the team member who is responsible for defining and developing the product.

process refers to the exploration, development of innovative products, the repeated application of the steps and successful practice experience.

Products Refer to the distinctive features of innovative products.

These three parts are essential for exploring and developing user favorite products. Projects are done by people, the process is to ensure that people continue to develop the user's favorite products. My article will revolve around these three topics, most of which come from the experience of top companies, some benefit from the results of communication with the industry elite, and the rest is my own work experience. The article as far as possible follow the following three standards: to encourage thinking, and practical work is closely related and practicable.

I hope my article can help you to create a successful product. At the same time, I would like to hear readers share their experience. Welcome to my Blog (www.svpg.com) to share your thoughts.

Good products By design

I never think of creative products from accidental, each successful product follows a certain law, the following is my summary of the 10 laws.

• The task of the product manager is to explore the value, usability and feasibility of the product.

• Product development is important and difficult, but user experience design is often more difficult and more important than product development.

• Engineers are not good at user experience design because engineers are thinking about implementing models, and users are looking at product conceptual models.

• User experience design is interactive design, visual design (for hardware equipment, it is industrial design).

• Functional (product requirements) and user experience design are inseparable. Product creativity must be tested early and repeatedly by the target user in order to gain an effective user experience.

• Allow users to try High-fidelity product prototypes, simple, convenient and quick to verify the idea, to get the real user experience.

• High-fidelity product prototypes are the most effective way for all team members to understand user needs and user experience.

• The goal of the product manager is to grasp the complex market/user needs in the shortest possible time and determine the basic requirements of the product-value, availability, feasibility.

Once the product meets the above basic requirements, it is a complete concept, remove any factors, can not achieve the expected results.

Key roles and responsibilities of the product team

The product is designed and developed by the team members. How to select team members and define work responsibilities is the decisive factor for the success of the product. Many of the product teams are so old-fashioned and stretched that they will find that the roles and responsibilities I'm about to discuss are very different from their approach. Not all companies are setting positions and assigning tasks exactly the way I do, but most successful companies do. These roles are essential to building a successful software product. Please note that what I call "software products" includes not only software that is available to businesses or consumers, but also internet services, consumer electronics, and all software-focused devices.

Product Manager

The main responsibilities of the Product manager are divided into two categories: Evaluating the product opportunities (products opportunity), and defining the products to be developed. There are many sources of product creativity, including company executives ' opinions, user feedback, usability test results, product team and marketing team ideas, industry analyst, etc. Some people should strictly review these ideas and judge whether they are worthy of adoption. The product Manager is the person responsible for the assessment. Many companies use market demand documentation (Market Requirements DOCUMENT,MRD) to do this, but I prefer a simplified approach, which I call an opportunity Assessment (opportunity Assessment).

After identifying the product ideas that are valuable and consistent with the company's development requirements, you also need to explore product solutions, including basic product features and functionality, product user experience, and product release standards. These are also part of the Product manager's job category and are the core responsibilities of the product manager. Some companies use product requirements documents (Products Requirements document, PRD) to do this work, and others call it product documentation or functional documentation. In the same way, I advocate simplifying the documentation around the product prototypes to do the work. Note that the document should clearly describe the functionality and attributes of the product and avoid discussing the implementation of the product.

User Experience Designer

In fact, the user experience design team is composed of a variety of roles that I will explain later in detail. Here we talk about the most critical roles-interaction designers (also known as information architects, user interface designers, user experience architects). Interaction designers are responsible for understanding the target users (the various personas that the product plan meets their needs), designing valuable, usable target features, user navigation, and product usage processes. Interaction designers work closely with product managers to combine functionality and design to meet user needs. The goal is to ensure that the product is both available and attractive (usability refers to the user's understanding of how to use the product, and attractiveness refers to the user's desire for the product).

Project management Staff

When the product manager finishes the product definition, the development team takes the project and begins to develop the product. The core task of project management is to develop plans and track progress. Project management is often performed by different roles, possibly by a dedicated project manager, or by a development manager (because the development team occupies most of the project resources) and may be go into battle by the product manager. This usually depends on the company's culture and the size of the project. The larger project is best arranged by experienced full-time project manager management.

Microsoft calls the "project" manager (Progr am manager), who is responsible for developing product documentation and managing the progress of the project, because these poor people have to deal with multiple projects at the same time, and the industry is now accustomed to using this title to call managers who manage multiple projects at the same time. At Microsoft, product managers refer to people who are responsible for product marketing. Although I don't like Microsoft's use of these two titles, I think they are doing a great job of defining the product.

Development team

Engineers, also known as product developers or software developers, are responsible for developing products, some of which are called it teams, and do not confuse the two concepts to see whether they are developing software for customers or for internal companies such as human resources. The IT team usually refers to a team that provides technical support for internal employees, and the development team refers to the team that develops and maintains the product for external customers.

Operation and Maintenance Team

Internet service products typically run on the server, and the user accesses the service through the Web. Operation and maintenance team is responsible for ensuring the normal operation of the service. While some companies take this task to the development team, the operation requires a range of expertise and is difficult for the development team to bear alone.

Product Marketing Staff

Product Marketing Team is responsible for external release, promotional products, to expand marketing channels, the organization of key marketing activities (such as online marketing), to promote product sales to provide support. It is unwise for some companies to make a person responsible for both product management (product definition) and product marketing, which differ greatly in their skill requirements.

Percentage of team members

In the product team, there is a proportional relationship between the number of product managers, designers and developers. To enable developers to focus on the development of valuable software products, there must be a corresponding number of product managers and designers to assist them to complete their work.

Factors that affect the proportion of team members include the type of software to be developed, the work experience and skill level of the employee. The percentages described below are available for readers ' reference.

Q: How many product managers do you need?

A : Typically, every five to 10 developers should be equipped with a product manager.

Q: How many user experience designers do you need?

A : an interactive designer can support the work of two product managers, and a visual designer can generally support the work of four interactive designers.

Q: should I hire a full-time project manager?

A : any major projects involving more than 10 developers should be staffed with dedicated project managers. In addition, if a train model release method is used (referring to the continuous release of the product in a fixed cycle, if a given function is not completed and moved to the next cycle), a full-time project manager must be provided for each release of the product (usually consisting of multiple projects).

This article is excerpted from the Book of Revelation: Creating users ' favorite products from Huazhong University of Hust Press. This book introduces the practical experience and idea of modern software (Internet) product management from three angles of people, process and product. I hereby thank the Huazhong University of Hust Press and Mr. Marty Cagan for authorization.

(This article comes from "programmer" magazine 11 02, more exciting content please pay attention to 02 issue magazine)

"Programmer" 11 02 Highlights: My Entrepreneurial Story

"Programmer" Magazine subscription

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