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Саммари: Marty Cagan — «Inspired — How To Build Tech Products Customers Love»


  • All of product leaders wants to make inspiring products, but most of products not inspiring and not successful — and life is to short to make bad products.
  • Most important concept of entire book — It is all about great product team. It is the group of missionaries, rather than mercenaries — they are have very strong skills and works together for long period of time to solve hard business problems.
  • Product evangelism — is about 'selling a dream' — if you a CEO it is a big part of your job.

What is the problem with the waterfall method of designing products?

  • The source of ideas — sales or stakeholders.
  • Because of business cases. We really don't know how much money it will takes from start. So, the most important mistake here is knowing something that we can't know.
  • Teams are excited about their product roadmaps. Because all of them only just prioritised list of features. And first truth is half of our ideas will not going to work, the other half will not work as you wished to. Second truth — for prove some potential of ideas you need to take several iterations to deliver real business value.
  • Product, manager works only like project manager.
  • Lack role of design, get it in the game only when it is too late.
  • Engineering forces get in game also too late.
  • Also Agile principles not implemented in time.
  • Process is very project-centric.
  • Customer validation is always too late.
  • The biggest final loss — what organisation is have and what it could have& We can't get time back.

What is the process?

We need to discover — what product to built and then deliver that product to market.
The purpose of discovery stage is separate the bad ideas from good and then make validated product backlog. We can make it through the series of very quick experiments with low-functional prototypes. Critical questions:
  • Will our customer buy / choose it?
  • Can user understand how to use our product?
  • Can our tech team build that product?
  • Can our stakeholders support that decision?
The purpose os prototyping in discovery stage is to make some evidence and then come with specified actions to make worth building that we can deliver to our customers.
Then we need to achieve product/market fit — the smallest possible product that serves needs of specific segment of customers.
Final critical concept is a product vision — something that we want to delivery by 2-10 years from now.
So, finally — we use prototypes to quick experiments with product discovery, then in delivery stage we make some products to achieve product/market fit, that one of the key steps to get on the company's product vision.

Product team roles

Product manager

What is the key responsibility of product manager? Is to determining what need to be built and delivered to customers. What you need to be done with deep knowledge of
  • Your customers. You need to know all of the pains, issues, desires, know how they think, work and how decide to buy.
  • The data. You need to figure out all quantitative and qualitative skills with data and analytics.
  • Your business. You need to know how your product works for business metrics, which role product plays init.
  • Your market and industry. Not only competitors, but also trends, new technologies, customer behaviour and other.
What kind of person successful product manager is?
  • Smart — not by IQ, but curious, quickly learning and applying new approaches and technologies for solve customer problems.
  • Creative — thinking outside the normal product box to solve business problems.
  • Persistent — pushing the company and products way beyond their comfort zone to make some evidence.
  • Passion — for making products and solving problems.

Product designer

Design is about discover the right products, not only about make them beautiful
  • Old model — designer took requirements from product manager and then created design
  • Modern model — collaboration with product manager from start of discovery to delivery
User experience design
  • Needs to customer and the end user to understand the value of your product
  • Includes all touch points and interactions the customer have with our product
List of questions, generated from those touchpoints How will
  • customers learn about our product?
  • we onboard them?
  • might users interact at different times during day?
  • and what other things competing for the user's attention?
  • might things different for users with different LTV
Also it was great chapter about product engineering

Product engineering

  • They must be not mercenaries, but missionaries.
  • They must be involved to discovery of the new product in the early stages because they understand all of the specifications and limitations and can get you better solutions.

For what the roadmap works well?

  • Management can see that teams are working on the highest-priority business items at first.
  • They are also can make date-based commitments with partners, investors and so on.

Why the roadmap is the problem?

  • Half of our product ideas will not going to work. For example — customers not excited about idea and don't understand the value. Or they are try to use it but it so complicated.
  • It takes to several iteration to get the execution.
  • The "ideas" in road map is not problem. The problem is, even if you put many disclaimers on it all of the people in company will interpret it like commitment.

How works strong product teams?

  • They are quickly tackling the risks.
  • Fast iterating for the best solution — in hours and days rather than in weeks and months.
For tech companies it works like
  • The product vision and strategy — the big picture that organisation wants to accomplish.
  • The business objectives — specific and prioritised.
Its all about outcome, rather than output.

Principles of product vision

  • Start with why.
  • Fall in love with problems, not with the solutions.
  • Don't be afraid to thinks big.
  • Don't be afraid to disrupt yourself, or someone else will.
  • Vision needs to inspire.
  • Embrace relevant trends.
  • Go where possibilities will be, not here they was.
  • Be strong in vision but flexible in details.
  • Realise that vision is about faith.
  • Evangelise continuously and relentlessly.

Principles of product strategy

  • Focus on one market or segment at time.
  • It need to be aligned with business strategy.
  • Also It need to be aligned with sales and marketing strategy.
  • Obsess with customers, not the competitors.
  • Communicate the strategy with whole team.

OKR technique

This is a tool for management, focus and alignment. Key points:
  • Objectives should be qualitative.
  • Key results should be quantitative / measurable.
  • Key results need to be the measurements of business results.
  • Product management, design and tech team should focus on the organisation business objectives.
  • You should find good rhythm — annually / or by quarter.
  • Number of objectives and results should be small for each team (1-3).
  • Each team should track progress against those objectives.
  • Objectives don't need to cover every little thing.
  • Teams need to feel accountable to achieving their objectives.
  • You need to agree how you will scoring the key results.
  • Make a clear way for key results being high-integrity-commitment. Either delivered or not.
  • Be transparent on objectives and progress between the teams.
  • Senior management have responsibility for the objectives and key results of the whole organisation.

Purpose of product discovery is to evaluate those risks

  • Will customer buy it? — Value risk.
  • Can user understand how to use it? — Usability risk.
  • Can we build it? — Feasibility risk.
  • Does this product works for our business — Viability risk.
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