Monthly Archives: October 2011

Can anything really replace a good face-to-face customer meeting?

 

By Saeed Khan

Recently I managed to get out for a few days to meet with some customers. I talk to customers every month, but the vast majority of those discussions are by phone/webinar. And while a fair number of those calls are informative, it’s easy to forget what you lose in a conversation, when the other person (or people) are simply disembodied voices traveling across the phone line.

Meeting across the table vs. across the Web

One of the people I met with on the trip (let’s call her Sachiko) was someone with whom I’ve been communicating for about 18 months. We’ve had quite a few calls over that period of time discussing how she was using our products. She’s provided some great feedback over the last year and a half, and has introduced me to other members of her team. And I’ve had a couple of calls with a couple of them as well.

Having said that, there was a certain dynamic in the meeting that was clearly different than any of our phone-based discussions. As we were talking, the people in the meeting — Sachiko and a couple of her cow0rkers — provided details of company initiatives and issues we’d never discussed previously.  They also opened up about some product issues, previously unmentioned. It was a great discussion.

As I wrote up my notes that evening, I wondered why they’d never mentioned these things before. It seems there was a level of openness (or maybe trust?) that existed in the face-to-face meeting that wasn’t there over the phone. Perhaps actually seeing the person you’re speaking with and shaking their hand and greeting them in person changes our mindset about the person we are speaking to.

User Group Therapy?

The next day, I attended a local user group meeting. In this meeting, there were about 20 local area customers  who came out to a hotel for a day of education, discussion and networking. I love going to user group meetings because I always end up getting into great discussions with customers. Sometimes these are over lunch, or out in a hallway, or during some planned round-table sessions.

What’s surprising in these meetings, even though there are people from many companies there, honestly and openness abounds. Now I have to do a bit of initial prying to get people to open up, but once they do, and they feel comfortable,  the discussion blossoms. And there I am, the Product Manager, trying to figure out the best way to answer their questions, and at the same time get the input and opinions of almost two dozen customers seated right in front of me. How valuable is that?

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that if I’d taken some basic human psychology classes in university, they would have benefited me greatly in my current career. Although we spend a lot of time figuring out the best ways to manipulate technology to deliver great products, the real value we can deliver is to truly understand the people who we call our customers and prospects.

Face -to-face customer meetings are an investment, not an expense

And while I completely understand that given current economic conditions force us to be prudent with how we spend money — and air travel, hotels etc. can be quite costly — having face to face meetings that have NO sales agenda, should be seen as an investment with a huge payoff. Aside from the obvious additional insight gains, meeting people face-to-face strengthens whatever relationship you have with them. It’s basic human nature.

We are social creatures, but the huge irony of communication technology, and “social media” is that they claim to increase “connection” and “engagement” while simultaneously minimizing human contact. Sounds to me like a problem, not a solution.

What do you think? How important are face-to-face customer meetings in helping gain insight into your customers’ or prospects’ needs?

Saeed

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The Most Important Skills for Product Managers are …

By Saeed Khan

Last week, I asked you (the readers), to answer the following questions -

What are the base skills, tools, knowledge etc. that are either necessary or VERY useful to have to be a great Product Manager?

And what’s typically missing that people should go out and learn?

There were a lot of great responses.Here’s a summary of what you said:

  • Communicating with customers. Being able to understand how they use the product and what they need is crucial.
  • Ability to talk to different audiences (from the high level discussion with the top management to very in-deep discussion with support)
  • Presentation skills
  • Understanding the technology behind the product
  • Domain knowledge for their products
  • Understanding development processes
  • Understanding UI/UX processes and working with those team members
  • Project management skills
  • Leading by influence
  • Market knowledge (current situation and what may happen on a short&long term, your market share, understanding of the competition)
  • Market research techniques
  • Customer vision (which are your customers, what reasons have they had when choosing your product, which are the competition’s customer, which is there profile, etc)
  • Ability to create medium and long term strategy
  • Enthusiasm and humor spirit
  • Analytical thinking, logical thinking

So what do you think of this list?  It’s not a bad list, but I’m surprised no one mentioned business skills and sales skills! Does that mean they are not important, or are not an issue with most PMs, or simply that they just weren’t mentioned?

Is there anything else missing? Are there tools or skills you’ve learned along the way that you’d recommend others learn about?

What would you say are the most important skills that most Product Managers (and their bosses) need to learn? i.e. that they don’t have today?

Saeed

Tweet this: And the most important skills for Product Managers are… http://wp.me/pXBON-2YH #prodmgmt #education

Guest Post: Creating Brand Advocates Without a Special Formula

 

NOTE: The following is a guest post by Amy Swanson. If you want to submit your own guest post, click here for more information.

Creating Brand Advocates Without a Special Formula

As someone who (at times) falls into the narcissistic Facebook user category, I regularly believe that my friends care about the brand of laundry detergent I use and the kind of coffee brand I love. I can’t help it; when I find a new product that I really love, I tell others about it. I blame part of this on my marketing degree—since I know that every brand impression helps grow a company—and on the fact that I do genuinely want to help others.

Highly-engaged consumers help your brand become adopted and advocated by others, and they will ultimately create more recognition for your brand and product. How you get them on your brand’s side, though, is the question.

What’s the Secret?
Adoption of your product can be tricky, but don’t make it any more complicated than what it is. People will only want to adopt your products if they exceed expectations, so you should aim to please. Your goal is to get to the point where consumers can’t even imagine not using your product every day!

To get there, remember the following:

  • You need to properly identify the needs of your target market. What Consumer A wants may not be as important to Consumer B.
  • Internal motivations (personal needs, aspirations, and ideal self) as well as external motivations (need for acceptance among peers) are major factors in whether or not a product is used. Be sure to address both motivators accordingly for the highest level of success.
  • When your mom said “life won’t always be like high school,” she wasn’t being completely truthful. Popular and trusted endorsements can greatly influence adoption, since all that really matters to consumers is what the ‘cool kids’ think. Figuring out who exactly those cool kids are is different for each market, though.
  • When a product improves the user’s life at every stage of interaction, emotional bonds are built and loyalty and a strong brand relationship are strengthened. Once those bonds are established, your brand will be easily adopted into your customers’ everyday routines.

Advocate, Don’t Annoy
When you hear the word ‘advocate,’ there’s probably an outdated image of a protester from 1960 burned into your mind. Brand advocates don’t quite fit that stereotype, however; an advocate of your company wants to share the discovery of a product or brand that improved their life and can help others do the same.

Just like the product adoption process, you need to completely shatter their expectations (not just meet or slightly surpass them) in order to gain an advocate. If it’s necessary, you’ll want to update your image before taking on such a task. To increase your brand advocates, understand that consumers want to feel understood, appreciated, and rewarded for their passion of sharing your brand with others.

Have you ever experienced that feeling of knowing something that nobody else around you seems to understand? That’s exactly what consumers love feeling, too! If you’re ready to get some advocates on your side, here are some tips to remember:

  • Make them feel knowledgeable about your product by providing as much information as you can about it on your website. Give them all the facts and stats so that all potential questions can be accurately answered.
  • Keep up on your Twitter account and Facebook account. Engage with your followers and fans on a regular—not on an excessive—basis. Try not to exceed two posts a day on your Facebook account, but more frequent posts on your Twitter will keep people checking back to see what you’ve posted.
  • Make fans feel heroic for passing on your brand’s attributes and benefits to their friends and family. Sincerely thank them if they post on your Facebook wall or if they send a Tweet telling you they’ve introduced new people to your brand. Also, offering them a coupon or a discount can go further than you think!

Ask, Don’t Just Assume
Whether you consider yourself a narcissistic Facebook user or not, chances are you’re at least friends with a few of them. Embrace those advocates and find out why they’re adopting your product and how you can further that interaction by having them share with their friends. You may even find that they love your product for some other use you had never considered before, or you could even market to another group you didn’t initially think to target. You’ll find that the formula for success isn’t so secret, just maybe one you hadn’t thought of before!

——

Amy Swanson is a part of the marketing department at Quality Logo Products and regularly contributes to their promotional products blog. She is a self-professed newspaper and business nerd.

Tweet this: Guest Post: Creating Brand Advocates Without a Special Formula http://wp.me/pXBON-2Xz #prodmgmt #socmedia #innovation

PcampSF is tomorrow!

 

As part of the wave of Pcamps bringing product managers together everywhere, ProductCamp San Francisco is tomorrow, October 22, 2011.

They’re all full unfortunately, but I’ll be there. Say hi if you’re there or follow @PcampSF or @onpm on Twitter for updates and items from PcampSF.

Ethan

P.S. Check out the Events page for other upcoming Camps in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Minnesota & Nashville

Open Question: Top skills every Product Manager should know/learn?

By Saeed Khan

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting my second #prodmgmttalk Twitter chat.

These are held weekly on Monday 4PM PST (Tuesday morning in Australia) and are setup and run by Cindy Solomon (@cindyfsolomon) and Adrienne Tan (@actan).

The topic was Essential Product Management Education, Knowledge and Skills. You can see a full recap of the talk here.

Here’s the question:

Given there are few formal education programs for Product Management, and that most of us got into this field “accidentally”, and likely learned on the job,  what are the base skills, tools, knowledge etc. that are either necessary or VERY useful to have to be a great Product Manager?

And what’s typically missing that people should go out and learn?

So, I’ll stop there, and leave the responses up to you.

Please answer in the comments on this post. I’ll summarize if needed in the near future.

BTW, I’ve also posted this question on Quora — here – in case you are interested in reading what that community has to say.

Saeed

Tweet this: Open Question – Top skills every Product Manager should know/learn? http://wp.me/pXBON-2XK #prodmgmt #prodmgmttalk #education

If Software is Eating the World, Product Management Will Make it Taste Great

 

By Saeed Khan

A couple of months back, Mark Andreesen had an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “How Software is Eating the World“. If you haven’t read it, you should. There’s nothing earth shattering in it, particularly if you work in technology, but Andreesen gives a lot of good context and examples for his argument.

In short he says, if you look around, software is becoming ubiquitous in everything we do. Music, books, entertainment, photography, marketing/advertising, telecom,  retail, financial services, health care, education etc. etc. are all being reshaped and reinvented via software. And this change is happening around the world, with new companies and startups emerging to take on and displace established giants.

Andreesen lists 3 challenges that face these companies:

  1. These new companies face strong economic headwinds.  The economies of countries world wide are weak right now. But, companies born in this climate that can find success are going to be strong  and well position to grow faster once the economy rebounds.
  2. Many people who are NOT literate in high tech – engineers, marketers, managers etc. — are likely to be marginalized in the future. While Silicon Valley is booming, much of the rest of the United States is unemployed or underemployed. Education is the only way to address this problem.
  3. These new companies must prove themselves. “They need to build strong cultures, delight their customers, establish their own competitive advantage and justify their rising valuations. No one should expect building a new high-growth, software powered company in an established industry to be easy. It’s brutally difficult.”

I’ve quoted Andreesen directly for the 3rd point because what he describes there, particularly in the first sentence relates directly to the focus on Product Management. And of course, add this to the words of Bill Campbell, and the future looks bright for us….if we can get our act together and lead the way!

Saeed

Tweet this: New Post – If Software is Eating the World, #prodmgmt Will Make it Taste Great! http://wp.me/pXBON-2WZ

 

You don’t know what you don’t know (until it’s too late)

 

By Saeed Khan

I heard an interesting story recently from a PM friend of mine.

Her sales people had requested an ROI spreadsheet to use with prospects. Given current economic conditions, many prospects needed to show clear ROI to their management as a criteria to get budget approval for purchases.

The Requirements

The Sales team wanted an ROI calculator that they could fill in with the customer to show the savings that would be generated if they purchased the product.  One other requirement from the sales team was that the spreadsheet should be clear and simple as most ROI spreadsheets are far too complex to understand.

That made absolute sense to her. No problem she said. Her product had a very clear labour saving aspect to it, and so it should be easy to put together.

The Delivery

She took an existing ROI calculator for another product which had data, calculations and charts displayed on several tabs in the spreadsheet, and consolidated it into a simple single tabbed sheet with all input and output visible at once.

You could change inputs such as headcount, time allocations, costs etc. and immediately see the results without having to flip tabs or scroll etc.  A couple of weeks later, after some internal discussion and feedback, she presented the spreadsheet to the sales team, walked them through how to use it and answered any questions they had. Overall though it was well received.

The Problems

A few weeks later, she started to receive negative feedback about the spreadsheet from the sales team. At first she didn’t focus too much on it, but after the 3rd sales rep came back with the same issue, she took note and went to work on version 2 of the sheet.

It turns out that the ROI calculator was TOO simple and that the feedback was that once the prospect took the sheet to their management, it was rejected because it didn’t look like other ROI calculations they had seen! The calculations in the sheet were valid, and they were based on the customers’ own data, but that was discounted due to the simplicity of the sheet.

The Unknown Requirements

They wanted to see a calculator that looked more like other calculators they had. Not only did this help them get a perceived “apples-to-apples” view of ROI for different products, but, in at least one case, the prospect said that his manager’s view of the product was influenced by the simplicity of the spreadsheet. i.e. why should they pay that much money for such a simple product.

In the end, version 2 of the spreadsheet was released. It too was well received by the sales team but more importantly, it was also well received by prospects. At minimum, there were no more comments about the sheet being too simple.

The Lessons

There are some lessons to be learned from this.

  1. (Sales) people may know what they want, but not necessarily what they need.
  2. There’s a gray area between simple and simplistic and it can be hard to know when you’ve crossed it.
  3. Requirements come in many forms, and implicit non-functional ones (e.g. based on perception vs. reality) are very difficult to ascertain without some form of testing or experimentation

It’s this third point that is most important and really the moral of this story. You don’t know what you don’t know, usually until it’s too late. It’s another reason to speak directly to your audience and not just accept the word or proxies or intermediaries.

Saeed

Tweet this: You don’t know what you don’t know (until it’s too late) http://wp.me/pXBON-2X2 #prodmgmt #requirements #innovation

Get Some Rhythm

 

By Jennifer Doctor

In several online forums/blogs recently, there has been a lot of talk and discussion about “how often do I update this?” “Change that?” “Do this?”

There was a specific thread that was related to a question about a product roadmap, but I’ve also seen the same question about web content, marketing communication pieces, customer visits and other outward facing activities. Our product professional peers are looking for some schedule so they can plug the activity into their calendar and update x, y or z regularly.

But, a calendar appointment is not what is needed to address the challenge.

The only way you know how often product management and marketing artifacts should be updated, and how to share the information, is to know both your organizational culture and your market. You need to understand the beat and rhythm of your business.

Let me try and explain. Beat is part of rhythm. When you clap to music or tap your foot on the floor, you are following the beat. The beat is steady.  Rhythm is the pattern of the notes, which make up the melody. Rhythm is made up of patterns of sounds (notes) and silences (rests); it can vary throughout a melody.

To effectively develop and present a roadmap, it needs to be collaborative. But, how often do you update? How often do you share? The answer lies in the beat of your business.

So, you ask, how do I actually determine the beat of the business?

Try looking at some of these questions:

  • When does your organization do strategic planning?
  • When are goals developed and shared?
  • Who looks at the product goals to ensure that they are aligned to the new business goals? When?
  • Are goals periodically updated? When?
  • Are there any patterns emerging?

This will be different in every organization and sometimes even by the different markets served by the products and business. By understanding when planning happens and when goals are set, you can then confidently check your existing roadmap, and other plans, against the updated information and goals.

Know that different stakeholders have different needs and views of the business. Sales might want the road map updated frequently and only really care about next quarter. Investors might be more interested in a 5 year view. Marketing may need to change their schedule for planned campaigns quarterly. It’s about knowing the beat of the stakeholder within the rhythm of
the business.

In the end, the key to successfully updating the information, in a way that meets the needs of each stakeholder, is to communicate the right what to right whom, at the right time to enable their beat so it works in the greater rhythm. Successfully done, this will have everyone playing the same tune.

 

(Please share this on Twitter, LinkedIn & even Google+: “Get Some Rhythm” by@jidoctorhttp://wp.me/pXBON-2WJ #prodmktg #prodmgmt #roadmap #process #communication”)

Guest Post: The Entrepreneurial Product Manager

 

NOTE: The following is a guest post by Veronica Figgarella. If you want to submit your own guest post, click here for more information.

An entrepreneurial approach to identifying an opportunity

As Product Managers we need to become experts in understanding the market our products are used and sold into,  and smart about finding new customer problems to solve. An opportunity to solve a problem is often the first step in delivering a great product, but to deliver it we need resources, a team of people with varying domain knowledge, and a roadmap (or business plan)  to manage uncertainty. We also need to deal with our own role/responsibility struggles as well as other external forces. It all sounds like building a new company!

An entrepreneur is often thought of as a person who left the corporate environment and into the risky world of “business on my own”. These individuals pursue a vision and transform it into action guided by their passion. They have to convince people to buy into their ideas, and often struggle with finding resources since the task at hand is usually bigger than initially expected.

Entrepreneurs are risk managers, and to cover their backs, they need to learn about the market they are in; the problems they are solving for their customers, and plan for adverse scenarios.

Similarities with Product Management are obvious! Product Managers ought to be entrepreneurial individuals just like business owners. We are both responsible for:

  • Identifying the opportunity/problem
  • Evaluating the opportunity/problem
  • Finding solutions to the problem
  • Finding the resources to develop the solution
  • Managing a development process to deliver the solution
  • Getting buy-in from people across the organization
  • Measuring success and learning from the process

In today’s economic/social environment, it is critical that organizations develop and encourage an entrepreneurial and innovative culture so they adapt and learn to be resilient over time. If we think about our role, not only as employees but as corporate entrepreneurs, we may also rely on entrepreneurial theory to better understand the challenges we face.

The Timmons Model is an example of an easy-to-understand tool that might shed light into our daily struggle. Let’s look at its elements and relate them to our PM role.

In the Timmons model, the size of the opportunity will shape and determine the amount of resources and the team. In our case, the product manager acts as the founder and is the responsible for identifying the elements that will allow the model to be balanced. Moreover, in this dynamic context we need to ask ourselves: What can go wrong with this opportunity? What favourable events can happen? What risks can be eliminated? What are the minimum resources needed? … In essence we need to sort out the risk-reward equation to make the product sustainable.

At the heart of the model, there is the opportunity. As product managers who need to debate and present a business case, we need to become smart about calculating it. Quick questions for doing this are:

Is the customer reachable and how many are of them?

  • What is customer payback?
  • Is the market growing and at what rate?
  • Is the market emerging or fragmented?
  • What are the barriers to enter?
  • What are we providing better than the competition?
  • What are our margins?
  • What are customer’s behaviours?

In entrepreneurship, resources follow a great opportunity and is a common misconception that they have to be in place in order to succeed. On the contrary, scarcity promotes innovation and just like in product management, what we are often short of is of great opportunities. We can learn from entrepreneurs to do more with less and practice focusing creativity.

The team is a key element in every new venture and is located at the bottom of the model. Whether a new company or product development communication and interpersonal skills will foster a better environment where creativity and support leads to a better working team.

An entrepreneurial product manager learns and teaches, deals with adversity and is resilient. She shows integrity and is dependable and honest and builds an entrepreneurial culture in the organization. The passion that drives the team will show as they are motivated, committed, are adaptable and are aware their locus of control is on the team and is not external. Empowered individuals are key to product management and product development.

Examples of how the Timmons Model works are abundant. Let’s say we work at a company whose core business is in retail and we are back in 1995 when the Internet was not as ubiquitous as today. As Product Managers we envision the day when our products are not only available to those who come to our store but to everyone who has a computer and internet access.

First question we have to ask is: how big is this opportunity? Then, do we have the resources and the team to open to online shopping? And of course is it the right time to develop this new business? In this scenario the Timmons model would look like this:

See how the opportunity is bigger than the resources as it would probably cost a lot of money to implement a new online channel back in 1995. Same happens with the team because it would have been hard to find people with the required experience to properly manage a new virtual store.

See also how uncertainty is bigger that the perceived value of the channel in the market posing a greater deal of risk and the need for a strong business plan to pursue this new project.

How would the model look if the same opportunity arose today? It would look balanced and straight forward (as shown in the first figure) because the context and culture have changed, Internet access is ubiquitous and the fears and discomfort of online shopping have diminished. Today very few products  are not available online.

Also finding talented individuals to run a virtual channel is not a challenge anymore and implementing it is certainly cheaper than it was 15 years ago. This model also shows that opportunities are about timing and that if we want to go “over the fence” we need to keep our eyes and minds open to new ventures.

Understanding how the elements in the Timmons model interact and being aware of our role at balancing them will prevent our organizations from throwing too many resources at weak and poorly defined opportunities. So next time you feel like an acrobat at the circus trying to convey all variables to successfully manage a product, think of yourself as an entrepreneur and own your product as if you were its CEO. After all we all face the same challenges.

Veronica

- – - -

Veronica Figarella is a Product Manager and Marketing Specialist with more than 9 years of experience in the Telecom industry. She has worked in both Latin America and Australia. Veronica is based in Venezuela and works as a Small Business Consultant and teaches an undergraduate course on developing entrepreneurial skills.  You can reach her on Twitter: @vfigatelix

Tweet this: Guest post by @vfigatelix – The Entrepreneurial Product Manager http://wp.me/pXBON-2Vh #prodmgmt #entrepreneurship

Simplicity and Elegance Require Deep Attention to Detail

 

Tweet this: Simplicity and Elegance Require Deep Attention to Detail – http://wp.me/pXBON-2Wh – #prodmgmt #design #innovation

By Saeed Khan

There’s a mantra these days (or does it qualify as a meme?) in product design that simplicity is critical and complexity should be avoided. The KISS principle — Keep it simple stupid – has been around for a while, but clearly in the last few years it’s come to the forefront of design thinking.

When building software products, simplicity does not mean simplistic. Simplicity in design requires sophistication in thought.

There is great tension between what’s easy to do and manage with technology, and what’s easy to do and manage for the user. Unfortunately in many cases, the former wins out over the latter.

Designing for the machine

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who was working with a database application. He had to write some reports using data the application had stored. Without getting into gory details of the database schema, let me say that the application was a job/task tracking application and amongst other things, for each particular task, it stored the time when the task started and the time when the task finished.

My friend needed to aggregate the total time taken for certain tasks and write out the start/end times of various tasks in a report for someone to read. Now here’s the kicker — all times stored in the database — including task starting and ending times — were stored as milliseconds from January 1, 1970.  By the way, the application itself is only about 3 years old.

He told me that he had to write some funky SQL to convert those times to something human decipherable. I asked him if he knew why the data was stored that way. He said he had contacted the developers of the application and was told that not only was this a standard way of storing date/time info (Unix Time?), but given all the data/time formats and representations out there, they couldn’t know what people wanted so they gave the users “freedom” to choose.

I had to smile at this last sentence – they were giving the user the “freedom” to convert a millisecond date/time value to any format they want. This example, in fact, illustrates simplistic thinking and a complete ignorance to detail. It focuses on coding to the machine’s bias and placing a burden onto the end user.

Designing for the human

A great counter-example — and here’s a mandatory Steve Jobs story — is an incident that is generally known as “Rounded Rectangles“.

In short, back in 1981, when developing the code to draw graphics for the original Macintosh, Bill Atkinson wrote some code that very quickly drew arbitrary circles and ovals on the screen. OK, for those of you young folks, this may not sound like it’s anything significant, but 30 years ago, with CPUs that completely SUCKED at any floating point arithmetic, this was a feat.

NOTE: Remember, plotting circles normally depends on formulas using pi or trigonometry (sin or cos of an angle), both of which require decimal calculations.

When Bill showed his circles and ovals to Steve Jobs, Jobs’ response went something like this: That’s great, but can you draw rectangle s with rounded corners?

Atkinson was taken aback. First, that would be hard to do. And second, why would anyone care about rounded corners on rectangles?

Jobs’ responded that rounded rectangles were everywhere, and to prove it, took Atkinson for a walk outside. During their walk, amongst many examples of rounded rectangles, they came across a no-parking sign with rounded corners, and Atkinson was convinced. He said he’d give the problem some thought.

The next day Atkinson came back and demoed blazingly fast rounded rectangles being drawn on the screen. And today, 30 years later, if you look around any computer screen, you’ll see rounded rectangles everywhere.

OK…and so what?

In reality, neither time in milliseconds nor rounded rectangles on their own are going to have a huge impact on any given product. My friend wrote his funky SQL and converted the times as needed. And whether a dialog box has rounded or square corners, it doesn’t directly change the functionality of an application. But each does have a small impact on the product by increasing or decreasing the burden on the user to extract value from the product.

Now imagine corporate cultures where  each of these examples are applied repeatedly for a given product. i.e. one product is consistently designed for the machine. Another product is consistently designed for the human. What would be the end result?

In both you’d have a functional product. With the former, you’d have a product with a lot of rough edges and a lot of knowledge needed by the user to be effective with the product. With the latter, you’d have a product that is distinctly different from it’s competitors and a pleasure to use.

User’s wouldn’t always be able to enumerate why the latter was great, but they’d certainly tell you which one they wanted to use.

And why would that be the case? Because the designers of the latter application paid really close attention to all the fine details. It’s about a culture of craftsmanship. The rounded rectangles story changed Bill Atkinson’s view of what was needed, and also what could be done with graphics on the Mac. It’s no surprise he wrote MacPaint (a killer app for the Mac) a few years later.

Now, getting back to the two divergent applications. Which application would you want to use? Which application does your company usually build? Why?

Saeed

Tweet this: Simplicity and Elegance Require Deep Attention to Detail – http://wp.me/pXBON-2Wh – #prodmgmt #design #innovation