Product Guy

Maker of digital products

Category: Testing

What I’m Reading Aug. 28, 2016

What Great Listeners Actually Do

According to this Harvard Business Review study it turns out that remaining quiet, acknowledging the speaker with visual and verbal gestures and repeating back to them what they have said falls short of being a good listener. As product managers we spend a lot of time listening to different people, so listen up! Rather than sitting there just listening, ask insightful questions based on what the speaker has told you. Make the speaker feel safe with your actions and words. This goes back to a theme we looked at last week where you want the speaker to understand that you’re there to learn from them and they can speak freely without judgement.

After running 2,000 experiments for Fortune 500 product teams, here’s what we learned

If you belong to a large organization, and I mean anything over 50 people, it can be hard to convince others of the benefits of continues testing. This article provides a few insights and potential solutions to help you get your big org on the testing path. Lesson one is that change is hard, lesson two is that lots of time needs to be allocated to running around getting buy-in. Lesson three; product experiments generally fall into one of these six buckets. It’s surprising which are the most popular and least popular. The last lesson, we’re all biased but practice “substantiation through iteration.” Meaning, you should be able to repeat the experiment and get the same results. Couple more insights but I’ll let you get them when you read the full article.

The Roofshot Manifesto

Luiz Andre Barroso, a Google Fellow talks about how incremental improvements can be the bread and butter to bigger growth. It reminds me of a guy I roomed with at university. He bet on sports but always very conservatively. Each win he’d make $10 to $20 and for every loss he’d only lose $5 to $10. Because his bets were conservative he’d win more than lose and by the end of the year he’d have a nice little sum of cash. As Barroso points out, with a 1.3X roofshot each quarter you have 10X growth in less than 3 years and 30% growth in 12 weeks.

ASO Best Practices: Optimizing Your App Store Page | Part 2

Not all app stores are created equal and here’s a few tips on how you can win in either the Android or iOS store. With a helpful side by side comparison of the app download landing page it’s easy to see what’s going to catch most users’ eye. Screen caps are important in both stores but while the first two images are most important in iOS, it’s the remaining images that are more important in Android, because twice as many users scroll through them, 15% for Android as compared to 7% for iOS. Video previews are also featured more predominately in the Android store and you have more flexibility in terms of video content with Android. As always, test, test and retest to get the best results.

What I’m Reading Aug. 21, 2016

User Stories Are Bad….M’Kay?

An interesting idea from Nathan Kinch on framing product requirements around Jobs To Be Done rather than User Stories. Using Clayton Christensen’s framework of Jobs to Be Done the use of personas is replaced with jobs. Rather than “As a (persona), I want to (task), so that I can (outcome)” the requirement is framed as, “When (job), I want to (task), so I can (outcome)”. After defining the JTBD requirements framework Kinch outlines how a product would be developed using this framework and provides some helpful tactics for presenting the business case.

How To Use Laddering in Qualitative Marketing Research

I’m always interested in articles that have tangible tactics I can use; laddering is the process of interviewing customers to find out what product features are important to them while driving to the users’ emotional benefits. The theory is that people buy with emotions and beliefs and rationalize the features and functional benefits. There are four levels to the ladder: Features > Functional Benefits > Higher Order benefits > Emotional Benefits. A word of caution, do not use the word “why” when asking laddering questions. It is known to put people on the defensive. This method can also be used as a tool to develop marketing material and articulate the value proposition for customers.

User Testing Gone Wild: A Guide To Course Correction

Using situational examples of where testing can go off the rails this article provides good advice to get things moving and back on the fact-finding track. First big tip, make sure your candidate never feels like they are being judged. When there’s a bunch of experts in the room that designed, and are building, the product, make sure they know you really want to learn from them. Only have two people in the room with the interviewee, one note taker and one interviewer. Make sure you test the prototype in several different scenarios including outside the office and offline. Use this pretesting time to practice the interview and tighten up your questions. Paper wireframes will never run out of battery power so have them handy just in case.

Hunter Walk on product management

A conversation with Hunter Walk, former product manager at Second Life and YouTube. One of my big takeaways from this conversation is that as a PM you’re ‘in service’ to the product and its customers for a given time period. Like every professional coach there will come a time when you leave the product and pass it on to someone else. The goal is to pass it on in a better position than you found it. Another key is to understand when it’s time to move on and what staging in a companies growth is right for you. I also appreciated Hunters comments around how PMs don’t need to come from a technical background, and if they all did there might be an issue with the engineers the company is hiring. Also some insightful comments on how a company’s KPIs change as the product matures.

What I’m Reading May 29 2016

Doing Data Science Right – Your Most Common Questions Answered

Thought the Analyst that sits down the way from you was also a Data Scientist? Their not and this article talks about some of the differences while focusing in on what a Data Scientist does, when your business needs one and options on deploying them within the organization. There’s a good summary of the two main goals of data science; improving the products your customers use and improving the decisions your business makes. There’s also a good checklist to determine if your business is ready for a data science team.

Netflix Knows Which pictures you’ll Click on and Why

One of the main selling features of a movie/show on Netflix is it’s cover image and Netflix what’s to know which images you do like and why. In this Fast Company article Nick Nelson, Netflix’s global manager of creative services, talks about movie/show images and how they impact click-thru. Some of the most interesting finds where that people seemed to gravitate towards images with few people in them, seemly being able to process the emotion of the image more quickly. Expressions of those in the image was also important where characters that showed high energy emotions were more likely to receive a click than those with stoic faces. House of Cards must be an outlier.

How Your Start-ups Org Chart Changes Your Product

A good reminder article about Conway’s Law and how to not build your org chart or maybe make sure your org chart reflects how you want your product build. Some interesting comments of how building the org chart can be avoided by employing micro services and creating a devops culture. There’s also some fun illustrations of org charts for Google, Microsoft and Oracle.

Find, Vet and Close the best Product Managers

Todd Jackson shares insights on how to look for, interview and hire great product people. There’s a good round-up of the must haves, nice to haves and optional. A rundown of type resumes that you might receive when hiring is also interesting but his comments on vetting candidates are the most useful. The sample interview questions could be helpful but the best reminder in this piece is that when you identify the perfect fit, how do you get this person in the door. You want to hire great people and great people want to work a great companies. Hiring for product people is really a two way street where you both have to do some selling.

What I’m Reading May 23 2016

Six Templates for Aspiring Product Managers

One the best things I’ve read all week, and hence it’s being list at the top, is Kevin Steigerwald post of product management templates. He shares some very useful frameworks for those just starting in product management as well as some ideas for veterans. I’m going to start using his framework around the Weekly Recap as well as his recommended tool Reportly. There’s some good practical advise here as well as some productivity tools you’ll find useful.

Qualitative Web Analytics: Heuristic Evaluations Rock!

Avinash Kaushik’s post this week, note it’s not on the website yet but if you sign-up for this email you’ll get it early, led me to an older post of his about heuristic evaluations. You’ve likely led one of these sessions or been a participant in one. I’ve mentioned my interest in posts that share specific tactics that you can use in the office and this is a great step-by-step guide in how to conduct this type of testing. There’s also an excellent usability checklist.

Easter Egg Marketing: How Snapchat, Apple, and Google Hook You

I wondered the other day how much do easter eggs increase engagement. This article from Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt speaks to three areas where easter eggs could drive engagement; creating buzz, sense of belonging and building brand. There’s also excellent examples from Apple, Lyft and Google. As I research this topic more I’ll share what I find. If you’ve come across something similar please let me know.

An operating model for company side agile development

Another staple read in my inbox are the reports from McKinsey. This report talks about how to build an agile culture not just within the development team but throughout the organization. Some of the key takeaways for me where rolling out the agile methodology within the finance department and using a “wave and spike” platform across the organization.

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