3 Steps to Superior Product Decisions

Product Managers are the mothers of invention. You need to decide on the features that will go into your product. What message will you be using to communicate the value that people will get out of your product? Who is your target market? Here are 3 steps to making Superior Product Decisions.


Voting by the Dot

This strategy works great when you have a bunch of well-defined ideas and must decide which set of ideas to move forward with. Say, for example that your team are working on the design of a new product. It’s a mobile app that allows shoppers to find the best deals on groceries based on their diet and past purchasing history. Each team member has sketched out on paper what the app’s User interface and user experience would look like. With a lot of options, how do you decide?

You grant each member a few votes. Start with between three and five. You use dots to symbolize the votes. The next step in the process is deciding what to vote on. Any member can decide how many of their votes they want to put on any specific sketch or a segment t of the sketch (E.G. Tom’s sign up screen or Mike’s sliding menu). This is a great way to weed out ideas you’d like to move forward with. Now, ask the members of your team to cast their votes on the sketches. If a member really likes something, they may want to give it all their votes.

Voting by the Dot is a great strategy for when you have a bunch of well-defined ideas and must decide which set of ideas to move forward with. Click here to Tweet


Realistic Roadmapping = Quick Decisions

You need to make your roadmap visible to key execs and realistic. This is your bread and butter document, your most effective way of communicating strategy for your product. Do not set dates that can’t be achieved. Don’t get bogged down in the details. Make it equally understandable to all.

Using Rapid Feedback

This decision making technique works best when your goal is to process many ideas with people who are not familiar with them.

For example, your team could be working on a mobile app that tracks walking distance and have recently launched the MVP version. You want to collect input from the stakeholders and Subject Matter Experts as to the direction you are proposing for the product, including data centric and technical aspects of the product.

The first step using this technique is to name a facilitator, someone who will lead and make sure everyone stays on track.

Next, jot down a description of every idea that you’d like to gather feedback on. The idea here is to describe the idea in less than a minute. Using a format that answers some key questions is a good way to do this.

  • What is the product?
  • Who is the target market?
  • What problem does it solve?

When you are sitting with your stakeholders, let them know how the technique works. Then, start describing your ideas. Set a time so those around you know when the time has expired.

Next, set the time for 2 minutes and have your stakeholders ask any questions to clarify your idea.

Now, spend 3 minutes listening to the participants chime in with their amendments to the idea. The key here is to encourage positive feedback that only builds on the idea and make it more solid. The key in this exercise is to take the ideas and make them better. Within 60 minutes you will have a bunch of ideas that started out scaled down and are now better. Now, go out and develop them with your user base.

Rapid Feedback is a decision making technique that works best when your goal is to process many ideas with people who are not familiar with them. Click here to Tweet



Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.
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