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Product Managers, Product Owners, and Need for Real End User Validation

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for Agile Summit Greece (Sept 2018), a talk on barriers for product folks to validate problems and solutions DIRECTLY with end users/customers rather than through stakeholders and intermediates

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Product Managers, Product Owners, and Need for Real End User Validation

  1. 1. www.Mironov.com Product Managers, Product Owners, and the Need for Real End User Validation Rich Mironov Agile Summit Greece Athens, 21 Sept 2018 1
  2. 2. www.Mironov.com • Veteran product manager/exec/strategist • Organizing agile product organizations • Smokejumper VP Product Management • HP, Tandem, Sybase, 6 software startups as product lead or CEO • The Art of Product Management • Product blog since 2002 About Rich Mironov
  3. 3. www.Mironov.com • Defining Real Validation • Product Organizations • Takeaways Agenda
  4. 4. www.Mironov.com Customers are experts in what they want to achieve, not how to achieve it. - Alex Osterwalder 4
  5. 5. www.Mironov.com There’s nothing more wasteful than brilliantly engineering a product (feature) that doesn’t sell or isn’t used 5
  6. 6. www.Mironov.com • Get inside your end user’s heads • 12-20 in-person interviews • Open-ended questions • Record session or take good notes • Ask about… • How their department or business works • Biggest pain points, how they describe problems • Current solutions, alternatives, shortcomings • How they justify buying/using a new solution (ROI) Extended In-Person Interviews
  7. 7. www.Mironov.com • Confirmation bias • Push for “yes,” explain away “no,” overgeneralize • Availability bias • Overweight/remember most recent instances • Authority/bandwagon bias • Executives or stakeholders say this is true • Few interviews, assumed uniformity • “All of our users have identical needs” Validation Biases
  8. 8. www.Mironov.com Most of the success / failure of a product (feature) is determined before we pick our first developer or fill out our first story card 8
  9. 9. www.Mironov.com We don’t “gather requirements” • Whole teams frame problems • Collectively find elegant solutions • Earn user/customer trust, love, renewals, referrals Problem-Framing and Solution Design Are Contact Team Sports 9
  10. 10. www.Mironov.com • Defining Real Validation • Product Organizations • Takeaways Agenda
  11. 11. www.Mironov.com Handoffs Are the Enemy of Insight
  12. 12. www.Mironov.com Reducing Distance Product Owner Dev Team Biz Prod Mgr Users & Custs Dev Team Prod Mgr Users & Custs Dev Team Users & Custs Prod Mgr Dev Team Sales & Mktg Our CustsProduct Dev Team Gartner Their Custs Product
  13. 13. www.Mironov.com Stable, complete dev team Users (custs) Prod Mgr Value/Functional Area Product Structure I Like Prod Line Dir Stable, complete dev team Users (custs) Prod Mgr Value/Functional AreaStable, complete dev team Users (custs) Prod Mgr Value/Functional AreaStable, complete dev team Users (custs) Prod Mgr Value/Functional Area Frequent, in-depth, non-sales learning conversations Dev Dir
  14. 14. www.Mironov.com Learning conversations, problem definition, solutions Users (custs) Requirements Product Structure I Don’t Like Prod Line Dir Stable, complete dev team Users (custs) Prod Manager Stable, complete dev team Prod Owner Stable, complete dev team BA/TPM
  15. 15. www.Mironov.com Requirements Product Structure I Don’t Like Stable, complete dev team Team rotates Users (custs) Stable, complete dev team Prod Owner Mkt Mgr Users (custs) Stable, complete dev team Prod Mgr Prod Mgr Users (custs) Support Team
  16. 16. www.Mironov.com “The Business” Product Structure I Hate CIO Project team from pool BA Project team from pool Tech PM Project team from pool Prod Owner Tech Requirements Delivery Dates Prod Exec Mkt Mgr CAB Prod Dir Sales Mktg Prod Mgr Users (custs) “IT”
  17. 17. www.Mironov.com • Write/accept/prioritize stories • Available to team at all times But invites waste and bad outcomes when… • Proxies define needs • No time, training or reward for direct end user discovery • Productivity focus vs. measuring end value Narrow Scrum-Defined Product Owner Role
  18. 18. www.Mironov.com Drives delivery and market acceptance of products (features) • Targets segments, not individual users or customers • “What does this segment need/how will we measure outcome?” • Technical features and adoption • Resolves inevitable competing business + technical priorities • Motivates/aligns functional groups beyond development team (marketing, sales, support, partners, finance…) How Is A Product Manager Different? 18
  19. 19. www.Mironov.com • Defining Real Validation • Product Organizations • Takeaways Agenda
  20. 20. www.Mironov.com 1. Product managers/product owners need to directly validate problems and solutions • Most “requirements” lack context, confirmation 2. More handoffs means more waste • Need to interview actual end users 3. Problem/solution thinking is a team sport • Better outcomes, more engagement Takeaways
  21. 21. www.Mironov.com Rich Mironov Mironov Consulting San Francisco, CA, USA www.mironov.com +1-650-315-7394 rich@mironov.com @richmironov 21

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