The trinity of products: Quality, Resources and Time

You’ve heard the old saw: “Fast, good or cheap—pick two.” You can get good-enough quality quickly, but it won’t be cheap. You can get a great price and have it ASAP but the quality will likely be suspect. Or you can have great quality at a great price but expect to wait for it. Developing products is a lot like that. It’s a flurry of constant choices—and compromises—that are about quality, cost and speed. Living within these constraints can be challenging, but living without constraints will almost certainly result in failure. What’s a product manager to do?

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Product Managers: Dare to make products crafted with care

Generally speaking, craftspeople take great care and pride in their work—their passion for what they do shows in the final product. Some craftspeople, however, are still remembered decades, even centuries, later. Here’s just one example. Of the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of stringed instruments in the world today, only 1,100, or so, were made by Antonio Stradivari, the great Italian luthier. Almost 300 years ago, he hand-built what are widely acknowledged as the finest violins and cellos (and a few other instruments) on the planet. His are still the standard to which all other luthiers aspire. Despite now living in the age of technology and automation, we must follow in Stradivari’s footsteps. Our #1 priority should be building products that are crafted with care and designed to delight.

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Start with the media release, not the MRD, when developing new products

Most product-management methodologies offer an organized series of steps, from the more strategic aspects to the tactical execution. One of the key pieces that is almost universally considered a key deliverable by product managers is the market-requirement document, often simply called the MRD. These steps and documents are very fact-based and almost always lack a way to share the big picture and the emotion you want to create.

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What is “customer delight”?

Have you ever tried to use a new product and, instead of going through the documentation, simply followed the steps that seemed logical to you? If it worked, did you think “cool, they thought about that” or “the product understands me” or even “I wish every product I used were this easy”?

Customer delight is about putting a smile on a user’s face when he tries your product. It’s about understanding the users and delivering a great experience that enables them to be more creative, productive, or innovative when it comes to their tasks or the goals they are trying to achieve. It is about customers loving your product and wanting to use it rather than using it only because they have no choice. It’s ultimately about having a product that matters to the customer, one that builds an emotional connection with them.

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