Ten Rules for successful products and key roles and responsibilities of product teams

Source: Internet
Author: User

Marty CaganHe is a product management expert with world reputation. He once served as vice president of Wangjing and,EBaySenior Vice President of product management and design.

This article is a review of his experiences in Software Product Management over the past 20 years. He talked about the Ten Rules of successful products and the key roles and responsibilities of the product team.


I was still young in the middle of 1980s and served at HPProgramStaff, participate in the development of a high-profile product. At that time, it was a great honor for AI to enter the best companies in the industry and join an outstanding team (many of my colleagues later became the mainstay of the industry. Our task is not difficult: to develop software for low-cost universal workstations. At that time, the market was a dedicated product combining hardware and software. Each user spent more than $100,000, which was easily affordable.

We have worked hard for more than a year and sacrificed countless nights and weekends. Along the way, we have added a lot of patents to HP to develop products that meet HP's strict quality requirements. We have translated the products into multiple languages for internationalization. We have also trained our sales team, presented to the media and received good feedback. When the product was released, we thought everything was ready and started to celebrate.

But the problem arises: no one buys our product.

This product has completely failed in the market. Yes, its technology is refreshing and Media feedback is good, but people don't need it. In the face of this result, the team members are very frustrated. But we soon began to reflect: who has the right to decide what products to develop? How did they decide? How do they know if the product is used?

Our young team has learned a profound lesson. I believe many teams have also learned the same lesson from their failure: no matter how good the development team is, no matter how good the product is without market value. We realize that it is not enough to make a product. We also need to confirm that the product is valuable, available, and feasible.

Tracing the root cause of product failure, I found that the person who decides what product to develop is the "Product Manager". They are generally affiliated with 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 HP, but most companies do not understand this, even today some companies still do.

I made up my mind that I would never blindly put my energy into work unless I knew that the product was needed by the user.

Over the past 20 years, I have the honor to participate in the development of many high-tech products. Personal computers started to work at Hewlett-Packard. When Internet technology broke out, Netscape/U.S. online company served as vice president of platform and work equipment department; when e-commerce was popular, 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 fails. There are several popular products and tens of millions of users around the world.

Shortly after leaving eBay, I received calls from some product companies, hoping to improve the way products are developed. After working with these companies, I found that their work style is very different from that of excellent companies. I realized that it is a long way to popularize the first-class product concept. Most companies define and develop products in outdated and inefficient ways. At the same time, I found that no matter whether it is a technical institution (including the best business school courses) or a company that is conservative and cannot extricate themselves (like huipu, which I have worked for), there is nothing to do with it.

I chose this profession to develop products that customers love and reflect real value. I found that the product supervisor wanted to create a successful product, but most products lack creativity and have a short life. Therefore, I want to use my own blogArticleAnd the book revelation: Building a product that users love:
How to create products customers love) to share the success experience of excellent companies, so that more products can win the love of customers.

Content of my article


As the senior product manager of Wangjing, my daily work has been divided into three parts: Personnel, process, and product.

PersonnelIt refers to the roles and responsibilities of team members responsible for defining and developing products.

ProcessIt refers to the steps of repeated application and successful practical experience when exploring and developing creative products.

ProductIt refers to the distinctive features of creative products.

These three parts are essential for exploring and developing users' favorite products. Projects are completed by people, and the process ensures that users continuously develop their favorite products. My article will focus on these three topics, most of which come from the practical experience of first-class companies, some of which benefit from the results of exchanges with industry elites, and the rest is my work experience. The article tries its best to follow the following three criteria: encourage thinking, be closely related to actual work, and be practical.

I hope my article will help you create successful products. At the same time, I would like to hear readers share their experiences. Welcome to my blog (www.svpg.com) to share your thoughts.

Good Product Design


I never think that creative products come from accidents. Every successful product follows certain rules. The following are my ten rules.

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

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

• Engineers are not good at user experience design, because the engineer is thinking about the implementation model, while the user is focusing on the conceptual model of the product.

• User experience design is interactive design and visual design (Industrial Design for hardware devices ).

• Features (product requirements) and user experience design secrets cannot be divided. The product idea must be tried and tried by the target user as soon as possible to obtain an effective user experience.

• Allows users to try out a high-fidelity product prototype, which allows users to easily and quickly verify ideas and obtain real user experience.

• High Fidelity product prototype is the most effective way for all team members to understand user needs and user experience.

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

• Once it is determined that the product meets the above basic requirements, it is a complete concept, removing any factors will not be able to achieve the expected results.

Key roles and responsibilities of the product team


The product is designed and developed by team members. How to Select team members and define work responsibilities is the deciding factor for product success or failure. Many product teams seem to be outdated and stretched in this regard. They will find that the colors and responsibilities I will discuss are very different from their practices. Not all companies set up positions and assign tasks strictly in my way, but most successful companies do. These roles are indispensable for successful software products. Please note that the "software products" I mentioned include not only software provided to enterprises or consumers, but also Internet services and electronic consumer products, and all software-centric devices.

Product Manager

The product manager has two main responsibilities: evaluating product opportunities and defining the products to be developed. There are many sources of product creativity, including company executives, user feedback, usability test results, product team and marketing team ideas, and industry analysis. Some people should strictly review these ideas to determine whether they are worthy of use. The product manager is the person responsible for this evaluation. Many companies use the market demand documentation
Requirements document, MRD) to do this, but I prefer to use a simplified method, which I call opportunity evaluation (opportunity ).
Assessment ).

After identifying valuable and compliant with the company's development requirements, you also need to explore product solutions, including basic product features and functions, product user experience, and product release standards. These also fall into the scope of work of the product manager and are the core responsibilities of the product manager. Some companies
Requirements document,
PRD) to complete this work, also known as the product description document or function description document. Similarly, I advocate the use of simplified documents to carry out this work around the product prototype. Note: The document should clearly describe the features and properties of the product, avoiding discussion of product implementation methods.

User Experience designer

In fact, the user experience design team consists of multiple roles, which will be described in detail later. Here we will only talk about the most critical role-Interaction designers (also known as information architects, user interface designers, and user experience architects ). Interaction designers are responsible for in-depth understanding of target users (various roles with full product plans), designing valuable and available target functions, user navigation, and product use processes. Interaction designers work closely with product managers to combine functions and design to meet user needs. The goal is to ensure the availability and attractiveness of the product at the same time (Availability refers to the user's understanding of how to use the product, attractiveness refers to the user's desire for the product ).

Project management personnel

After the product manager completes the product definition, the development team undertakes the project and starts to develop the product. The core task of project management is to plan and track the progress. Project management is often undertaken by different roles. It may be operated by a full-time project manager or a Development Manager (because the development team occupies most of the project resources ), the product manager may also be involved. This usually depends on the company's culture and project scale. It is best to arrange experienced full-time project managers for large-scale projects.

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

Development Team

Engineers, also known as product developers or software developers, are responsible for product development. Some companies call them it (IT) teams. Be careful not to confuse these two concepts, the key to differentiation is whether they develop software for customers or for internal departments (such as the Human Resources Department. IT teams usually refer to teams that provide technical support to internal employees, while development teams refer to teams that develop and maintain products for external customers.

O & M team

Internet service products generally run on servers and users access services through the Web. The O & M team is responsible for ensuring normal service operations. Although some companies assign this task to the development team, the O & M work requires a series of professional skills and it is difficult for the development team to take responsibility independently.

Product Marketing Personnel

The product marketing team is responsible for releasing and publicizing products, and provides support for expanding marketing channels, organizing key marketing activities (such as online marketing), and promoting product sales. It is unwise for some companies to have one person in charge of both product management (Product Definition) and product marketing.

Composition of team members


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

Factors that affect the composition of team members include the types of software to be developed, employees' work experience and skill levels. The proportion described below is for your reference.

Q:How many product managers are required?

A:Generally, every five to ten developers should have a product manager.

Q:How many user experience designers are required?

A:An interaction designer can support the work of two product managers. A visual designer can generally support the work of four Interaction designers.

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

A:Dedicated project managers should be assigned to any major project involving over 10 developers. In addition, if the train model release method is used (that is, products are continuously released at a fixed cycle, and if a set function is not completed, the product will be released in the next cycle ), A dedicated project manager is required for each product release (usually composed of multiple projects.

Contact Us

The content source of this page is from Internet, which doesn't represent Alibaba Cloud's opinion; products and services mentioned on that page don't have any relationship with Alibaba Cloud. If the content of the page makes you feel confusing, please write us an email, we will handle the problem within 5 days after receiving your email.

If you find any instances of plagiarism from the community, please send an email to: info-contact@alibabacloud.com and provide relevant evidence. A staff member will contact you within 5 working days.

A Free Trial That Lets You Build Big!

Start building with 50+ products and up to 12 months usage for Elastic Compute Service

  • Sales Support

    1 on 1 presale consultation

  • After-Sales Support

    24/7 Technical Support 6 Free Tickets per Quarter Faster Response

  • Alibaba Cloud offers highly flexible support services tailored to meet your exact needs.