Building software platforms and applications that customers love, and will recommend to their peers, takes extreme focus and hard work. There are many moving parts to product success, including understanding your market and the problems customers in the market face, and building solutions that solve those problems.
Successful product leaders understand the value of both strategy and execution: Strategynecessary for building products that perform well into the future. Execution requires the focus and discipline to do things now for near-term product releases.
How do you succeed in both of these two seemingly dissimilar aspects of product management?
Delivering a solid product that customers love requires an up-front knowledge of the market in which customers and potential customers operate. Understanding the problems they face, and solving those problems with a software solution, is the end goal.
I’ve been asked many times what the best way is to discover a market and understand the needs of customers in that market. My answer is usually some form of “it depends.” Some have potentially millions of customers (e.g. B2C) and other markets have far fewer—generally high-paying—potential customers (e.g. B2B). Attaining access to data differs depending on the makeup of the market.
At a high level, there are two methods you use to acquire market data, regardless of the industry: they are qualitative and quantitative research. Let’s explore how you can use both to get the data you need to deeply understand your market.
Creating great products and building successful companies takes a tremendous amount of work, insatiable initiative and a penchant for perseverance. It requires thinking differently than others think, and even differently than you have thought in the past.
To make big changes requires a whole new way of thinking, yet few college programs or study courses sow the seeds of innovation and creative thinking. You need to see the world differently, to think differently. To create winning products and companies you need to play bigger.
Think about a product you use regularly. Why do you use it? Why do you love it? What keeps you coming back?
When creating a product or service, you want your users and buyers to answer these questions with positive reactions. You hope they will get the full value of your offering and that they will have a positive experience as they use for their business. You want them to keep coming back for more.
In many ways, creating new technology based products and services has become much easier in recent years. With mobile apps, software as a service (SaaS) and other new tools, the cost of turning ideas into real products has significantly decreased. What has not changed is the significance of deeply understanding the market your product will serve.
What is the key to knowing you have a winning product?
Disruptive and incremental innovations: How to ascend the ladders and avoid the snakes
Guest post by Gaia Grant and Andrew Grant
Current realities are harsh. Whereas once it was enough to bring out slow incremental improvements, to give time to trial new products, services and ideas and test the market, innovations now need to be rapid and radical. And the competition is fierce.
I write about trust often on this blog, so I’ll keep this post short and to the point: Gaining and keeping the trust of those you lead is one of the top factors to your company’s ongoing success.
Think about someone you trust unconditionally. Is there anything you wouldn’t do for that person? Why? Here’s my answer: that person would never ask me to do something that was not in my best interest.
Do you lead your organization such that everything you do results in the best outcome for the people you lead? If not, why not? If you want to gain the full trust of your people, you need to show them, by your words and actions, that what they are working towards will be in their best interest. When problems arise, and things don’t go as planned, they will understand why and will move forward despite setbacks.
When you live and lead in such a way that people trust your decisions and direction, you will succeed.
— The Product Management Perspective: Trust is the key to effectively working with the teams you depend on for your product’s success. Trust is key to understanding your customers and markets. Trust is a two-way street: you need to carry out your tasks in such a way that team members will trust you; you also need to trust that team members will do what they have committed to do. When you live and lead in such a way that people trust your decisions and direction, you will succeed…and so will your products!