The biased Product Manager!
Anyone who had known me personally would have been aware that I’m the father of twin daughters aged about 3 now. In my journey with them over these past 3 years, they taught me so much about product management that unconsciously I became biased. Not sure if it is for good or bad, but I’m unable to find myself out of this predicament that I’m biased.
My twins are fraternal. They don’t look alike, and neither do they behave in similar ways. One is shy while the other talks to anyone and everyone. When people think about twins, they perceive/ want them to be identical in all aspects. But the reality is just that; the perception. The nature and nurture of each of them are very different. Now what has this got to do with Product management, you might ask. Let’s dive right in and see.
When identifying the user needs, one of the fundamental steps is to determine the personas. Within the limited sample size at home, I already have 2 different personas. Their wants and needs are different, although the age group is the same. And the interesting aspect is that these keep changing. And it comes with a cherry on the top. I’m expected to address the unmet and unspoken needs. What moves the needle is often blurry but there is no escaping from that.
Analyzing the competition is the next part, I guess. There are so many competitors (Read mother/ aunts/ uncles/ grandparents/ friends/ neighbours/ relatives) vying for user’s attention using various means. It could be a range of stuff such as giving them more toys, taking them outside for a ride, or giving them candy. To have the girls continue to think that I have something better for them, I should continue to innovate and provide delights better than the others.
As they say, freedom is high in the early stages of the product. You can adapt it well in the initial stages rather than when scaled. Before I provide a wide variety of offerings to my daughters, I have to plan the sequence of events better to provide the maximum impact. If one is already engaged, I check for options to continuously engage. If one is not engaged at all, I try to understand her expectations to become attached. Also, I do not give everything to every user just because I can support multiple ways. But that is based on the right reason.
I do not need any NPS score to know that something is wrong with my offering. The main communication method of the users, in this case, is crying. We do not generally have any idea of what is wrong. But it is my duty to console the agitated users and meet their expectations at the earliest to avoid any potential disasters in the making.
Just like the seasons, there are different needs at different times. I continuously have to monitor for user engagement and work on ways to retain and improve their interactions with me. One could be a loud user who has certain whims and fancies, and the other a more subdued one. If I keep paying attention to the loudest user and cater to all her needs, the other will eventually lose interest. So, I need to keep a fine balance and practice the subtle art of saying ‘No’ in a way that’s accepted.
If we are looking for a broad view of Product Management activities, can we say we covered the following?
- Identification of users’ needs
- Analyzing the competition
- Identification of product requirements
- Solution roadmap
- Definition of product features and initiatives
- Release Planning
As you might agree by now, Product management begins at home for me. And, the interactions between my users and me are paramount in each of those product management activities. The better provisions that I give for my users, the better are the chances of them continuing to show interest in me. So, I have to be/ stay biased in the user experience to reap the benefits.
Business goals and user experience are probably those fraternal twins. Very related and yet stay seemingly distant. But when they go hand in hand, isn’t that a pretty sight?!
Oh, by the way, Am I the product in my curious case of t(win)s?
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