Developing User Empathy

At times I have described my role on on the team as “therapist”. I listen to people a lot, work hard to understand what they’re struggling with and ask questions that will help them overcome the challenges they’re facing. As a product manager, immersing yourself in the challenges users are having completing a job is a large part of your daily work. Sachin Rekhi talks about going beyond the 90 minute user interview and thinking about job shadowing for a day or actually doing the users job for a day. Step two, practice mindfulness. This is the idea of being aware and open to what is going on around you and how that is having an impact on you and your emotions. It doesn’t have to be nirvana, you just need to be self-aware. Next, built mindful relationship with your colleagues. I’d suggest you practice and build mindful relationships with everyone in your life, it will just make you happier and a better product person.

What Is The Balanced Scorecard?

The first half of this article tells you the importance of the Balanced Scorecard, if you don’t need to be convinced jump to the Perspectives section and start there. The authors recommended viewing the scorecard from four perspectives; Learning & Growth, Business Process, Customer Perspective, Financial. These four perspectives then drive the Strategic Map. The scorecard is designed to be used at an enterprise level but it can also be applied directly to product management practices. There’s learning we need to keep current in our industry, there are business processes we want to refine to communicate our messages and deliver our products, know more about our customers & their level of satisfaction (that’s job one of for us!) and we certainty have financial goals.

Element of Value: Measuring What Customers Really Want

Last week I sat in on a Harvard Business Review webinar where Eric Almquist discussed how Bain & Company mapped product value against a modified Maslow’s hierarchy of need. The hierarchy is modified to illustrate four levels of attainment a company & product can reach within a customers value chain; functional, emotional, life changing and social impact. Within each of the four levels there are specific elements where products can meet customer needs. For example, at an emotional level a product like Netflix delivers on a nostalgic element. Bain also tested and proved that delivering on these elements would increase customer loyalty and improve revenue growth.

It’s Ugly but it Works: On Designing for Usability

There’s an adage about marketplace sites that says, if it works they will come no matter how simple or outdated it looks. Largely all people want to do is go into a marketplace, solve the job they have, and get out. Graeme Fulton outlines step by step why the simple but lovable app Tabata works and why we as product people we should always think usefulness first.