Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love


Finished reading a book last week Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love. So, there is something to think about.

The book can be considered as a guide for Product Managers and not only for them, helping to make a useful product that users like.

About knowledge and skills

A successful PM must have knowledge in the subject area and this is important and although all this knowledge is rapidly becoming obsolete. But it turns out that 80% of its knowledge and skills are applicable to products from any field. What makes these percentages?

These include an understanding of the processes to create successful products, product team management skills and product growth management. All this is complemented by constant analysis of the result and how it can be improved next time.

About Tools

Marty recommends using the method to gather user opinions about the product Net Promoter Score. It allows you to assess the chances that the user will recommend your product to someone.

The role of PM in an organization and whether it can be consolidated with marketing or development

In general, Marty believes that attempts to combine PM with marketing or development do nothing good. And he devotes an entire chapter to this topic. For example, what happens when combined with development: “the engineering department focuses on making the product to do right, instead of making the right product” (well said). This may prevent PM from focusing on the product and why the product is needed. First of all, it is important to understand WHAT PROBLEM the product solves, and only after that, HOW it can be solved.

Myth – Users Know What They Need

You need to constantly be prepared for what users (customers) will tell you about “How the product should work”, instead of just saying “What your product should do”. Still interesting: “Customer requirements are not product requirements”.

I learned about a new artifact for myself, which helps to evaluate the possible success of the product and thereby save time and money. It can also help the team understand what exactly is required for success, and how to determine this success. In order to get this POA you need to answer a few questions:

  • What problem does the product solve?
  • Who are we solving this problem for?
  • What metrics will we measure success?
  • Target Market Size
  • What are competitors or alternatives?
  • Why is our product is better?
  • Why is the product needed right now?
  • How will the product be marketed?
  • How will the product be sold?

Improving an existing product VS New Product

A large number of products are done poorly, and often instead of understanding how they can be improved, many organizations decide that it is easier to make a new product. But if the team does not change the approach to creating the product, with a high degree of probability the final result will need to redo the product.

Transparency in Project Management

It’s very important for Project Management to ensure transparency in decision making. The team must understand at you are not just following your intuition. How each decision was made should be reasoned and clear to the whole team.

Winning Products

Products that combine a deep understanding of what the user needs with what is now possible to do. It’s a big mistake to try to make a product that everyone likes. On the contrary, the team should be focused on the fact that each release solves the problem of a specific user.

Marty insists that there must first be a prototype that shows how the product works. We show the prototype to the target audience, we check how the audience interacts with the prototype of the future product. It seems to me that this works great in custom development, but in grocery, working with customers directly is difficult. Marty believes that in the product company, the role of the customer for developers should be performed by PM himself.

Product improvement is not the addition of new functionality, on the contrary, the product must achieve new goals, helping to solve the problems of users’ problems.

Much attention is paid to the ways of introducing innovations in large companies. One of them, “innovation through the purchase of other companies”.

Marty gives a set of valuable tips on how to succeed in a large company, analyzes the reasons for Apple’s success, discusses emotions when choosing a product by the user, considers the role of PM in Agile development, and discusses startup features separately:

10 tips for a subordinate

Learn to measure and plan the size of your “Useless” work

“Useless” – because this is all activity not related to moving forward towards achieving the goal, for example changing plans, alterations, preparation, etc. In “quotation marks” – because there is still benefit from it. But ideally, it should be reduced to zero. This is unattainable, so the goal is to reduce it as much as possible. As soon as you begin to control yourself (it will become clear how much “useless” work you have done per week/month/quarter), it will become clear how you can reduce the amount of this work. This will allow you to do more accurate planning and help you identify places in your process that you can improve. In general, Marty uses the term “churn” here, which, in his opinion, is the cost of preparation, alterations, and changes in plans. I called it “useless” work. Who knows how to say it more beautifully – share it.

Determine the right style and frequency of communication with the manager

You need to determine the style that your manager prefers and use this style in communicating with him. Even if you yourself prefer another. Some manager prefers to be informed about each problem, another can only be disturbed in serious cases.

Get ready for meetings

Try to meet and talk with each participant in the upcoming general meeting, especially if serious decisions are planned there. It is better to learn about the opinions of all participants before the meeting. At the meeting itself, it will be too late to try to change the opponent’s point of view if he publicly designates it there.

We need your recommendations for a solution and not just voice problems


Use your chief

Often, to solve your problems, you have to communicate with people who do not crave communication with you. It is possible that the level in the hierarchy of your chief in your organization will allow you to establish contact with these people.

Do homework

Always be prepared for all scheduled meetings and reports.

Write short e-mail

Heads of the company are busy people, so let’s take care of their time and at the same time get the answers and solutions they need. The higher the level of responsibility, the shorter the letter should be. If possible, attach a separate additional material, but do not force your boss to read more than a few lines.

Use Facts, Not Opinion

When communicating with a chief, all the more so, always remember that you must operate on facts and data. Interesting quote: “if we are going to make a decision based on an opinion, it will be my opinion” Jim Barksdale, founder of Netscape.

Make your company aware of your product

This tip is for Project Manager.

Managers love those subordinates who do not require control

appreciate the time yours and that of your employer.

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