Building a great product requires a mindset with multi-disciplinary skills. Every Product Manager would learn those skills only through hard way of building products, validating those products with customers and reinforcing the feedback back into building better products.
Based on my experience, I have listed five critical essential ingredients to building great products.
- Audacious problem– Pick an audacious problem to address that no one has addressed it earlier or neither addressed in a way that you are addressing it. The product thus built will exceed every expectation to the astonishment of your target customers. All along ensure that customer care for the problem to be addressed, and they pay a premium for addressing it. For doing so, you need to have extensive knowledge about customers and their needs.
- Think bold, think future– While picking a problem, imagine how it manifests in the future. Do not just provide a solution to today’s problem. Even though it is critical to address today’s needs, your focus should be on extending the solution to address tomorrow’s needs. While addressing the problem or need, do not constrain yourself with existing technologies or existing benchmarks (What Elon Musk did to electric cars). Probably, your idea or solution to address the need or problem should pave for new technology evolution or change in customer behaviors. When Steve Jobs thought about the concept of stacking 1,000 songs in a device, he would not be constrained by whether any existing technology can store so many songs in a small form factor. Instead, his idea would have driven the evolution of such technology.
- Simplicity– This is one principle that is essential for every product. No matter how complex problem you are addressing, there should be simplicity written all over it on how customers will use the product to solve their problem or needs
- Do one thing right – Be focused on doing just one thing. Do not be everything to everyone. Even if your product has to do multiple things, focus on delivering awesomeness on specific elements of the product that will drive customers preference towards the products, instead of doing everything right.
- Impeccable execution – Nothing beats impeccable execution of the new product. Even a mediocre idea with perfect execution will win over an awesome idea with poor execution. As Ben Horowitz rightly said, focus on the little things and big things will take care of themselves. The statement is true more so during product development. Product Manager should start concentrating on all little things even as simple as the color and package of the new product.
Are the above five, the exhaustive list? Absolute no, there might be other things as well, but this is the most critical list that I have learned from my experiences. It is not essential that all great products adhere to the above. For instance, some great products can address a simple problem, but the experiences that they deliver to customers will be a real differentiation.
Beyond those five attributes, the most primary aspect is to Start defining the WHY – Strong product vision that outlines the purpose and belief behind the new product
Finally, Product Manager should believe in the product, should believe in the abilities of self and her team to build an awesome product.
I captured some of those details in my eBook (free copy): Building Enterprise Product
Disclaimer: Even though I have built products, I fell short of building great products. I learned how to build great product through the hard way of building and failing:-(.