Minimizing uncertainty and determining the right next step for your product is what product managers spend most of their time in their careers doing.
The most important job of a product manager is to create a successful product that satisfies our customers and makes a profit for our business. The success of this product depends on three things: product desirability, feasibility, and viability.
It becomes really important for product managers to minimize the uncertainty and risks associated with product desirability, feasibility and viability and to find that common ground between these three factors that really increases your chances of creating a successful product.
"When you know little, your only goal should be to gather evidence that points you in the right direction."
Major source for gathering evidence related to desirability, viability
Moderate source for gathering evidence related to desirability, viability
Major source for gathering evidence related to feasibility
Moderate source for gathering evidence related to viability
Focus on volume; not a single data point or anecdote
Focus on gathering evidence for desirability first
Modes of enquiry for weak evidence
Modes of enquiry for strong evidence
Modes of enquiry
Internal team communications
Learnings from past experiments/experience
Don't spend too much time on gathering weak evidence
Not statistically significant
Filter out ideas that will NOT work
Data and insights are different
We all have conscious and unconscious biases
Work to disprove your beliefs
Have multiple people attend user interviews
Share raw data and not summaries
Have multiple people look at the evidence and share their insights
Encourage and carefully consider critical views
Convert your assumptions into the key hypothesis
Desirability hypothesis – pain-points, value proposition, engagement etc.
Feasibility hypothesis – resources, partnerships key activities etc.
Viability hypothesis – costs, pricing, profit etc.
A good hypothesis
Is testable – ability to prove and disprove
X - Re-Designing the website will increase user engagement
V - Re-Designing the website with “design A” will increase total time spent on the website per user
Has a clear goal and a success criteria
X - Re-Designing the website with “design A” will increase average time spent on the website per user
V - Re-Designing the website with “design A” will increase average time spent on the website per user, per week by 10% for the users between ages 20-45
Is atomic – testing one variable at a time
X – We can buy and sell good for profit
V – H1: We can buy item X from the market at the rate of 3$ per item, if we buy more than 1000 pieces.
H2: We can sell each item for $6.
Which hypothesis needs to be true for my idea to succeed?
For which hypothesis do I lack concrete evidence?
Modes of enquiry
Hypothesis driven experiments – focus on volume
Remember that while experiments provide strong evidence, they are costly to build and execute.
Run scrappy experiments if you can – Wizard of Oz, Fake landing pages etc.
What people do
Real world settings
You've collected more evidence. Convincing evidence that you can use again, you must make sure that you have removed your prejudices. It is very important to remove your biases when you analyze your evidence. In cases of experiments, it is really important to have a hypothesis that has a clear goal and success criteria. If you have a well-defined measure of success, the analysis of the results of the experiment becomes very clear. You either reached your goal or you didn't. If the results of your experiment are inconclusive, you might be tempted to put it into production, because it won't hurt anything if it doesn't improve anything. But it is here that the elimination of bias is what we must remember.
Just make sure you have a few people looking at the input as well, getting their perspective on it, removing bias, and doing the right thing for the product.
Running multiple experiments for a single hypothesis increases strength of the validity of the hypothesis.
Now you know more, you have reduced uncertainty. Repeat the same process to know even more and iteratively build your product.
Remember, Product development is not a linear process, and you'll never know it all. But you can minimize uncertainty and increase chances of success.
PMs need to minimize uncertainty associated with product desirability, feasibility and viability in order to build a successful product.
When you are uncertain, your only goal should be to gather evidence that points you in the right direction.
Major sources of evidence – customers, competitors and internal teams.
Different modes of enquiry provide different degrees of evidence. Start with weak evidence and move quickly towards the modes of enquiry that gather strong evidence.
Work to disprove hypothesis than to prove it and consciously remove biases when driving insights from the data.
Remember that product development is not a linear process.
Vaibhavi Phadnis, Microsoft Product Leader