How to communicate with developers as a Product Manager

developers communicationThe engineers love to have lots of details. So it’s a good idea to be very detailed when talking to engineers or emailing them. The engineers are always thinking about software and how what you’re saying may or may not work. What happens if the app doesn’t have connection to the internet? What would be the error state if something goes wrong on this page? What happens when no data is available to display on this page aka empty state?

The clearer your communication is the better. You’re bound for failure If you’re not detailed or clear enough in communicating with the engineers and sending them feature specifications. They love to get the details to know they are working on the right product. Which features are hard and which are impossible? Set the right expectations and be prepared to answer these questions.

Be a good listener and have empathy to listen to their feedback
Don’t rush the developers without fully understanding the technical challenges and long term impact. Don’t come up with all the concepts yourself or with the designer and then just hand the completed requirements to the engineers to code. Always provide engineers with the opportunity to give you feedback. If they spend the whole day coding doesn’t mean that they don’t have any good ideas or opinions. Actively involve them in day to day discussions. Product perspective not even the engineering one. Is this a good idea? Would users use it? During planning meetings tell what’s coming up next and give them opportunity to tell what they think about it.

Communicate clearly the vision of what expected of them.
Throwing away any work done by developers is extremely painful. Present your ideas with confidence. Make sure your stuff looks beautiful the developers should be proud of what they are making. If something goes wrong on the communication with the dev team it’s your fault. If they developed something incorrectly it’s because you provided the wrong specs.

Be wary of technical debt and be prepared to describe future of the feature
How the feature would look like in its ideal state and how it looks as MVP are two big differences. It will help them to plan out how it’s going to be done technically in the future. It’s something that needs to be reworked or refactored later as a result of not doing it properly/hacking the first time. Impending work. Engineers hate it because they have to deal with it. It’s a good idea to trust the engineers option on how to do the right thing first. Develop something scaled out to not do it later.

How to prioritize features

prioritizing featuresPrioritizing features, user stories and epics is one of the main day to day duties of anybody doing product management. It’s important to have set up a proper way of prioritization so that’s your team is building the most valuable features for the users and the most beneficial features for the company. Here are a few methods of prioritizing features.

Assumption Testing
This is a quick and efficient way of prioritizing the highest/lowest risk items. The goal is to derisk what you’re doing by removing the riskiest assumptions through analyze, user testing, data. You start with what remains to be unknown by finding out what the biggest and the riskiest assumption is. You assign to every feature value on a scale 1-10 and Importance score 1-10. The sum of these two scores allows you to do the ranking and prioritization. The main idea is to try and derisk by implementation what can’t be derisked further by other means.

The BUC method
This prioritization method includes evaluating of the business benefits, the user benefits and the cost as the criteria to rank and prioritize features, user stories, epics, marketing activates. You assign value 1-10 to each metric and then you subtract the cost from the benefits (user+business combined). Afterwards you can prioritize the items based on the final score you got. The highest ranked items will go to the top. It’s pretty challenging to do accurate estimate here because often there’s not enough data available. However, this is a balanced method which takes both costs and ROI of the items into consideration.

The MOSCOW method
The MOSCOW acronym spells for Must, Could, Should and Would. You take all your items and consider worst case scenario for each one – what would happen if you won’t implement this or build that? When things would go really bad? Then you would have a list of things which absolutely should be done. And you call this Must have’s. And you go over the rest and sort them through as the things that you could, should, or would do. In the simplified version, this can include two characteristics – must have’s and nice to have’s.

Conclusion
To sum it up, it’s up to you as the product manager and the company which method of prioritizing to choose and to use. Sometimes the best way is to go forward in planning what to build next is just using data and your intuition. Taking the calculated risks can get you the great benefits.

Rottweiler

Rottweiler is the most stereotyped and misrepresented dog breed. I have a very nice and friendly one called Lima or officially Lima Von Vasfor because she’s a purebred. She’s part-time fitness instructor, part-time therapy dog and part-time house guardian.

Rottweiler Lima portrait

This infographic below, designed by my dear wife, is dedicated to Lima. This well designed and sleek infographic focuses on the Rottweiler breed, as well as facts and trivia. Continue reading

Go to Space Now!

Go to space now!

New revolutionary technology
We have to admit there hasn’t being any substantial space technology progress for the last 50 years, but rather only some incremental improvements. What we really need is a ground-breaking tech which will substantially change the status quo. Continue reading

The Future of Mobile Retail Apps

mobile retails apps future

I’ll dig into a few ideas in mobile retail apps space, which might significantly change both the customer’s and retailer’s experience. There’s a few common requirements for retail apps – they should provide an exceptional user experience with the intuitive UI and short learning curve, because you should consider the most non tech savvy customers and employees when targeting your app features. Continue reading

Uber Review

uber car service

What is Uber?

Uber is a startup private luxury car service company which is based in San Francisco and has expanded out to major cities in the world. The Uber service revolves around the Uber mobile app which makes it convenient to order for car service and book a driver, and expect to be picked up in a few minutes. Continue reading