Product Improvement and Product Management go Hand in Hand
Why the title – Product improvement and Product management go hand in hand?
Product management is not only about creating new products and features. It is also about improving the existing products. Product Managers do take the pain of understanding numbers and metrics to figure out the issue but many a times they get lost in the feature release planning thereby losing focus on the solution itself.
Product improvement process can be broken down into 5 steps:
Identify the goals of the product / feature
First step to improve any product should be to identify the goals of the product. A product can have primary and secondary goals. For example, the secondary goal of an ecommerce store can be one click checkout but the primary business goal can be earning more revenue.
Identify the current problems with the product
What are the problems the product is facing wrt to primary and secondary goals. You also need to understand which goals – primary or secondary have priority. Break the problem into small equation and try to identify the variable in the equation that is causing the problem. For example, let us take a macro problem of decline in revenue.
Revenue = Number of transactions(Nt) x Avg. transaction value(Atv)
Revenue = Nt(New Users) x Atv(New Users) + Nt(Repeat) x Atv(Repeat)
Number of transactions = Users x Conversion rate
The example given above is only for demonstration. There will be many more variables in real life. The granular this equation becomes, the clearer the issue.
What can be the potential resolution(s) for the issue(s)
This stage requires discussions / brainstorming / thinking and writing rough ideas and creating rough wireframes. The basic purpose of this stage is to come up with as many ways to solve the issue as possible. Coming up with multiple options is always good as the pros and cons of each of the solution can be evaluated and weighted against the other.
A simple quick fix or incremental change can be the resolution of the problem. However, a big bold out of the box idea can also be the resolution. Again it will depend on the priority between primary and secondary goals and how much priority needs to be given to the issue.
How should the implementation be planned? Should I fail fast and fail cheap or should I do a big bang full fledged release? These are the questions that should be answered at this stage. Writing PRD with all the edge cases would be a good idea to conclude this stage.
The product manager should be planning the metrics that he / she should review to conclude the efficiency of the feature. Targets should be clearly defined and the logic to define the targets should not be hunch based. It should come from historic data. If the feature is a new one, external data can also be considered.
These five steps can only give a direction to product managers. The steps look simple in theory but require lot of skills and time in real life.
Once the feature is improved, same process repeats as we live in the age of continuous improvement.
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