September 28, 2017

Questions every PM needs to ask themselves about their product

“The PM’s job is to see the loopholes when everybody thinks that the product is perfect." Building a product is both simple and tricky. Simple in the sense where you have your guidelines and your end result. All you need to do is to figure out how to get there. That, is the tricky part.You can start by asking the right question that will help you find the best way to roadmap your way towards success.

Is your product memorable or it “flat?

The question here is: what kind of product are you building? And, more importantly, what issues is it solving? The reason why these questions are vital is because you need to know what kind of added value you’re giving your customers. What makes them choose your product over another. Not every feature of your product needs to be perfect. Let’s face it, there is no such thing as a “perfectly perfect product”. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on 3-4 aspects and make them huge! The best there is. Elaborate your most important features. At the end of the day, it’s the smallest of the details that make your product feel just right.

How are your UX and UI doing?

What’s the best for your customer? What is the most intuitive happy path they can follow? How to minimize friction and ensure a seamless transition? All these questions come together to answer the true needs of your customer. It’s all about UX and UI. We’ve all seen extremely-simple-almost-pointless products yet we got addicted to them because of the neat UI or the fun UX. UX and UI work together to make your customer’s life easier and make them eventually, happy.

How thoughtful is your product?

What is it that you offer that makes your customer fall in love with your product? Your customers need to see how much effort you’ve put into making your product. But it doesn’t stop at that stage. You need to tell them about it. And no, it’s not bragging. It’s thoughtfulness. All you have to do is send them an email about the reason behind some of the new details you added. It makes them think about the effort an entire team put into alleviating that struggle. They will appreciate your product even more and start noticing all the new functions. It’s all about perception and appreciation.

What metrics are you setting to track your success?

Metrics, metrics, and metrics. What kind of metrics are you keeping up with? Which ones should you focus more on? How many metrics should you have?Metrics are one of the pillars of product management. After all, how else are you supposed to track your success! But metrics differ as they depend on many variables. Few things to keep in mind, however, are:

  • One metric is not enough. Ever. Pick what’s important.
  • Positive numbers don’t mean satisfied customers and vice versa. Always dig deeper.
  • Variables change. Constantly. Make sure you’re up to date.
  • Figure out which metrics are a priority and which are just temporary.

It’s important to have different metrics like customer satisfaction, traffic, data points, conversion rate, etc. But keep in mind that numbers are meaningless when out of context or if not reviewed and evaluated properly. Sometimes focusing on the wrong metrics can sacrifice you an opportunity to grow 10x bigger. Just like what happened with Slack.

Are you really looking at the bigger picture?

Customer problems are opportunities. Your biggest customers might be the ones you’re more likely to lose if you’re not addressing their problems properly. You can always pay them a visit to assess their problems onsite and see what you can do to fix them. Building a strong relationship with your “VIP” customers can open many doors for you! They can suggest a fix that turns out to be a breakthrough. They can introduce you to other top-notch customers. Or they can give you an external insight into your product, one you lack for having worked so closely on it. Feedback is what helps companies grow. Make sure you get as much as you can!

Building a product is all about asking the right questions, implementing, measuring, comparing, adjusting, testing, and then asking the questions again. 

Remember, no product is perfect. Make sure to keep your customers needing more. Give them something to look forward to, even when they're not 100% into your product. Give them Peaks and Valleys, as Kenneth Berger puts it, and they’ll keep coming for more.