We often rely on frameworks to structure our thinking.
While frameworks can be valuable, they can also lead you down a dangerous path, where you start to believe that there’s only one “right” way to build products.
Jeff Bezos repeatedly warns about processes becoming a thing. I believe this holds true for frameworks as well.
What’s way more important are principles behind them.
My favorite 8 principles are:
1. Prioritize customer value
The business value you create should always result from creating value for your customers. Keep their needs, dreams, desires, and feelings at the center of your decision-making.
2. Empower your teams
Empowered teams have all the necessary skills to build, test, and ship the product. They are given goals. Internally decide how best to achieve them. And are held accountable for the outcomes.
They are expected to own their successes and failures, learn from them, and continuously improve.
3. Lead with the context, not control
This is a Netflix principle. Instead of trying to control everything, provide your teams with a vision, a clear understanding of the strategic context, and the goals you are working towards.
This is essential to make good decisions. More on strategy (no paywall):
Introducing the Product Strategy Canvas
Before we dive in, the Strategy is simple. And it's for everyone in the organization. But, contrary to what many…
4. Use data to inform decisions
Make data-driven decisions grounded in reality, not just assumptions or intuition.
To build great products, you need qualitative (e.g., interviews) and quantitative (e.g., product metrics) data.
5. Experiment to reduce risk
Embrace experimentation to minimize uncertainty. Test assumptions related to the value, viability, usability, and feasibility by prototyping.
What’s the simplest thing you can do next to get maximum validated learning with minimal effort?
6. Embrace collaboration
Rather than precisely defining responsibilities, allow people to take on different roles as needed, fostering a more collaborative environment.
Did you know that Stripe started without Product Managers? This is also true for The Browser Company. See the recent Lenny Rachitsky podcast:
7. Avoid traditional roadmaps
I have never seen a detailed plan longer than 2–3 months that has stood the test of time. Traditional roadmaps won’t make you deliver more value or make your work more predictable. Instead, they may shift your focus from outcomes to outputs.
A better approach is to take one small step at a time, inspect, and adapt. Here are 3 ways to create 10x better product roadmaps (no paywall):
3 Ways to Create 10X Better Product Roadmaps
A product roadmap is a strategic tool to align everyone in the organization. But a poor one might result in confusion…
8. Assume most of your ideas won’t work
I love this quote from Inspired:
“The first truth is that at least half of your ideas are just not going to work (…) even with the ideas that do prove to have potential, it typically takes several iterations to get the implementation of this idea to the point where it actually delivers the necessary business value.” — Marty Cagan, Inspired.
It’s extremely helpful to understand the frameworks (now only “HOW” but, even more importantly, “WHY”).
But then experiment. Choose what works for you.
And make them your own.
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