Thursday, December 20, 2012

Product Management: Make the loop faster

One thing that I learned as a coder was to shorten the feedback loop.  When I write code, I want to write a bit of code, test, fix, check and repeat.  One cycle is a loop.  I found that the faster I can make the loop more productive I became.

For instance, if I spend 10 mins writing code, 5 mins to compile, 5 mins to set up the test system and another 10 minutes to verify the change, I would figure out how to reduce compilation time, set up time and testing time.  Instead of waiting 20 minutes to test 10 minutes of code, I know I could just about double the productivity by reducing that 20 minutes down to 5 minutes, and packing in another 10 minutes of coding and 5 minutes for validation.

Programmers, don't let compiling interrupt the development cycle.
Product managers, don't wait for product feedback; get ready to go find them.
The frequent loop should be as tight as possible so that there is no idle time, thus minimizing the chance for distraction and losing focus.

I see the same is true with product management.  Where am I spending the most time?  What can I do to reduce the idle time while concentrating on one task?

One essential function for product manager is designing a process that minimizes the bigger loop: development, testing, customer deployment and feedback loop.  Product manager must always look for opportunities to reduce this feedback loop from customer so that the product can evolve faster.  Faster the loop is, sooner the product will find the right fit to the target market.

Here are some questions product managers should think about:

  1. Who is my product champion (target customer) who can provide feedback?
  2. How do I collect qualitative data, such as think-out-loud usability tests?
  3. How do I collect quantitative data, such as clicks, time spent, etc.?
  4. How do my engineering team and I come up with solutions to the newly identified problem?
  5. What is important to our target market audience?
  6. How do I efficiently communicate the new solution to both engineering and product champion?

All these questions have to do with reducing the feedback loop to iterate on the product faster.  Make the loop go faster.

No comments:

Post a Comment