Audience + Attention + Value

Use this formula to evaluate a product concept. Use it to cull your ideas list.

I can’t stand formulaic approaches to otherwise intuitive and creative endeavours. When it comes to building a product, a step-by-step guide is nearly always a waste of time.

That said, there’s always something new to learn from every guide. I love the simplicity of this approach. I use it to evaluate a product concept, often using it as a tool to cull my ideas list:

Audience + Attention + Value = A Good Product

Audience: Is there an existing audience? Is the customer segment easily defined, and found all in the one place?

Attention: Do you already have the audience’s attention? Perhaps through previous products, community reputation, or media?

Value: Are you bringing a strong value proposition to your audience? Do you have the right balance between benefit and cost?

What next?

Your Product is built, your audience is engaged, and everything is sailing smoothly. What next?

We’ve all heard the pithy maxim “Do one thing, and do it well”.

This “Unix Philosophy” was invented by Ken Thompson in the context of modular software development. Later it was famously repurposed by Steve Jobs with a broader application.

Today, we apply this principle to lean Product Management. We aim to create Products that do one thing, really well.

So, when our Product is built, and our audience is engaged, and everything is sailing smoothly, we can be left wondering… “What next?”

One answer is to keep building more and more features, leaving our original lean intent behind. Another option:

Do the same thing, do it well, for someone else.

Take out your Business Model Canvas, and rethink your Customer Segment. You can repurpose your existing work, leverage your success, and create a whole new revenue stream with very little investment.

What are the use cases for your Product that you’ve intentionally avoided, which could open new revenue opportunities? Who are the people you have yet to reach?

Momentum

How do you transform an idea into a product? Open your calendar.

I had a conversation with a close friend today. While we talked, a product idea surfaced. The more we explored the possibilities around this idea, the more excited we became.

This experience happens to everyone, frequently. But most of the time, that’s where the idea stops. Nobody is sure of the next steps, and even if you were, nobody thinks they have enough time, anyway.

So, what’s the next step for transforming an idea into a product?

Traditional Product Management might tell you to Validate your idea. That’s terrible advice. Validation this early only serves as a means of letting negativity and pessimism end your product before it started.

No! Trust your instinct. Back yourself. Worry about validation later.

A better first step is to open your calendar. Find just one day in which you can cancel all your other meetings, take the day off work, and create a prototype or MVP.

When that day is done, you’ll have a number of things: something visual, something usable, something to demo, something to validate. But more importantly, you’ll have momentum.

Wouldn’t it be cool if…

It may, on the surface, seem a little unacademic, but I’ve found the expression to be very useful.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if…” is a phrase I hear myself saying quite a lot.

It may, on the surface, seem a little unacademic, but I’ve found the expression to be very useful.

Wouldn’t it be cool if…

… sets people at ease
… invites collaboration
… invites exploration
… encourages new thoughts and ideas
… is a starting point for User Stories

Wouldn’t it be cool if,
as <persona>,
I could <do something>,
so that <reason>.

How can you structure your user feedback into Wouldn’t It Be Cool Ifs?

When you do that, feedback like “Your Product needs an external service integration” becomes “Wouldn’t it be cool if your Product integrated with an external service?

Now you have a new idea which is exciting, explorable, and actionable.

Product Development Strategy

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”