Data can mean anything, therefore it means nothing. How, then, can we extract meaning from a dataset?
Two shoe salesmen were sent into “darkest Africa” to feel out the potential shoe market. The first telegraphed home saying: it’s hopeless stop nobody here wears shoes. The second telegraphed back saying: it’s wonderful stop nobody has any shoes.
As Product Managers, we work with a lot of data. Sometimes we even hire a data scientist to go through our data and tell us what it means.
Framing is the lens through which we view data. Since we all have different brains (and hence different frames) the same data will always represent something different to different analysts. Data can be objective. Recommendations based on that data can never be.
Data can mean anything, therefore it means nothing.
How, then, can we extract meaning from a dataset? One very effective method is to look hidden assumptions.
Suppose your analytics show a temporary downtick in traffic during February. One might assume that this is simply a natural ebb, another may assume that February must be a low month in your industry, a third may assume that there was a technical error has since been resolved.
To extract meaning from these analytics, ask yourself:
What assumption am I making,
That I’m not aware I’m making,
That gives me what I see?
Challenging this assumption will help you learn something new about your product (a competitor launched, an industry event, a political influence), which you can then leverage to your advantage.
Props to Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander for inspiration.
Most marketing campaigns, aim to reach as many eyes as possible. Here’s another approach: Minimum Viable Marketing.
We’ve all heard about lean product development principles: Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), measure its performance, and iterate.
We could apply this same principle to many Product disciplines. Take marketing, for example. Often, a Product team will hire a marketing manager or consultant and launch a campaign, aiming to reach as many eyes as possible.
Here’s another approach: A Minimum Viable Marketing (MVM) campaign.
Define a small campaign targeted only at the early adopters amongst your market segment, using words like Innovative, Pioneer, Breakthrough, Private, Limited, and Now. Choose just one channel to reach them on.
No need to build out every asset for every medium. No need to get the alignment just so. No need for pixel perfection. No need to wordsmith.
Since you’re starting small, take the time to get to know your audience. Talk with them, without any hint of self-promotion. Show them your marketing materials and gauge their thoughts and reactions.
We have something new to learn from everyone.
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
— Walt Disney
Are you curious?
Curiosity and silence go together.
Curiosity is about searching and discovery. Things that get in the way of that are pride, arrogance, loudness, teaching, and even problem solving.
You can’t sell and be curious at the same time.
You need to be quiet.
Listen. Really listen. Empathise. Be quiet.
We have something new to learn from everyone: the elderly, our children, the arrogant, the meek.
In every conversation: Stop evaluating, and listen for something to learn.
Office environments have a built-in productivity tracking tool: Visibility. But how do you keep remote teams accountable?
There’s a temptation to burden remote workers with a tonne of metrics.
When managers don’t trust their staff to be productive at home, the staff are often closely scrutinised with daily standups, daily roundups, and to-the-minute time tracking.
Continue reading “Choosing the Right Metrics for Distributed Teams”
Is it possible to transition from office to officeless? There’s only one thing you need.
When espousing the benefits of Distributed Teams, as I often do, I’m often told “but Luke, remote work wouldn’t succeed in my business”. And do you know what? You’re right.
Is it possible to transition from office to officeless? Not with that attitude.
Continue reading “Office to Officeless”
Integrating remote workers into a local team can be difficult, because they don’t share office (and post-office) interactions.
Having a mixed location workforce feels like a natural step when transitioning to a fully distributed business, yet this intermediate step can present its own unique challenges.
Integrating remote workers into a non-remote team can be difficult because they don’t share physical office interactions with the local team.
Continue reading “Mixing Remote and Local Teams”
Great ideas happen. When working with a new product idea, this is the Product Development process I like to go through.
When great ideas happen, it’s important to be ready with a Product Development Strategy so that your idea can grow into a product.
Who doesn’t love a step-by-step guide? When I’m working through a new product idea for myself or a friend, this is the process I go through.
Continue reading “Product Development Strategy”
Once you have a hypothesis, you have something to test and validate. Gather data, then conduct an experiment.
An important tool for every Ideas Person. Hypothesis Driven Development is the difference between wandering and way-finding.
Light bulb moments. They happen all the time. You stumble into a pain point or discover a problem and think “Somebody should solve that…”. Then you realise that you should solve it.
Continue reading “Hypothesis Driven Development”