What Are The Most Important Qualities Of A Manager – What are the product features? “Product People – Product Managers, Product Designers, UX Designers, UX Researchers, Business Analysts, Designers, Makers & Entrepreneurs May 05 2020 Product Management Good and Bad, Product Management Skills, Product Pyramid, Scaling, User Needs, Product Users, Problems Consider Mind The Product Limited 1757 Product Management 7,028 https:///what-qualities-make-a-product-great/
What are the characteristics of a great product? It is rewarding to analyze them and consider how they all work together to make a product successful.
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I put on my “deep thinking” face and stared at the wall behind my interviewee. When the silence became unbearable, I had to admit out loud what my brain had been screaming for the past 15 seconds (or minutes?): “I’m sorry, but for some reason I completely disappeared. And there is nothing to think about…”
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My interviewer tries to hide his shock and frustration and move on to the next topic, but his unspoken thoughts fill the rest of the interview: I forgot the most basic question you can ask when conducting product placement interviews.
The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t think of any decent products, I just felt like I couldn’t narrow down why I thought those products were good – I knew that was the next question.
So in true product manager fashion, I decided the best course of action was to learn from my failures and take the time to break down the features of a good product. Then you and I will not be caught in the next interview.
This is the essence of any successful product: if it doesn’t solve one problem for the end user, everything else will. No one buys a tool to do something they don’t actually do. User needs are many: known and unknown, complex and simple, natural and artificially created, part of a chain of needs or isolated; But every product must address one of these needs and address it.
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If nobody wanted to learn a language, we wouldn’t have Duolingo. If nobody needed to get from A to B, we wouldn’t have Uber (or cars for that matter). If you don’t need a product, you can’t use it. Likewise, a product that meets a need but fails to make the process better or easier (think Amazon Dash buttons) won’t last long.
User needs are not static, otherwise we wouldn’t have new products. Likewise, new products may not meet new needs, but address existing needs in a different way: Facebook did not create the need for identification, belonging, and friendship, but found new ways to meet it.
Other products try to create new needs at the same time and present themselves as solutions: even if they can be removed, the valuation depends on the production of artificial needs. The wedding ring is a good example of an artificial need that most people take for granted, but in fact, its only purpose is to fulfill social expectations developed by jewelers over the decades.
But we digress here, a product has to fulfill a need (and do it well) or it fails.
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Just because a product meets a user’s need doesn’t mean the user is aware of that need (yet). Think of Henry Ford’s famous quote “If I asked people what they wanted, they would build a faster horse”. The user’s main need was to move from A to B, but they were used to solving within the framework of what they encountered (horses), so they couldn’t think outside of it.
Fortunately for Ford, explaining how to fix the same problem with a car is relatively simple, but other products have more trouble explaining themselves. Perhaps the problem being solved is one that people are so familiar with that they don’t see it as a problem in the first place. Perhaps the product solves another problem, apparently unrelated, but at the same time it complicates the perception.
The acid test for the complexity of any product proposition is what I call “explain it to someone who has it”: Imagine having to explain the value of Spotify to your grandmother: “Listen to the music you love on any device.” Simple and clear. Hello Fresh’s value proposition may be harder to explain: “Get ingredients and recipe instructions from their catalog delivered to your home so you can cook them right there.” Imagine having to explain Airbnb, Twitch or TikTok… Good luck!
A product with a value proposition that can be explained in just two sentences can reach a wider market. A product that you need an MBA to understand its benefits may solve a real problem, but find its target user demographic limited and invest heavily in market education.
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Talked about values and things that are easy to explain. Now comes the third level which is easy to use. Ease of use doesn’t necessarily mean simple, it just means “right every time”. Some products can set their complexity very well: if you’re a regular user, you’ll only see the basics and don’t worry, but if you’re a power user, you’ll have access to more sophisticated features. .
There are always inherent difficulties: if a product deals with complex subjects (video or photo editing, production, travel), or has to deal with many regulations (medical, insurance, banking) or offers many solutions. (All computer operating systems). The key here is to make each activity as simple as possible in a smart and friendly way, without artificially limiting options and adding complexity (if necessary). The easier a product is to use, the easier it is for millions of people to learn how to use it.
Apple products, for example, are more expensive than competitors, but one of their USPs is superior performance. Apple didn’t invent the smartphone, the tablet or the MP3 player, but it did invent the way we interact with these three devices. Complex products like Illustrator and Photoshop have gotten progressively more sophisticated over the years, and they’ve been overtaken by newer software like Sketch, which started from the basics and offered (mostly) the same features, but in a simpler way.
Only the most tech-savvy beginners have the knowledge and willingness to take the time to learn how to use a new product. Most users want to get something and know how to use it.
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A product needs to solve a user’s problem, be easy to understand, and designed to be simple and intuitive, but there are still a few boxes to tick. For a product to be profitable (financially) it must produce more value per user than it costs per user.
Even the most automated companies need human input to develop a fully automated platform. Physical products will always be limited by the cost of materials and manufacturing, but good products (companies) will find the most efficient way to produce those products and make the economics work.
The perfect scalability scenario is a product that costs the same regardless of the number of users using it, making the cost per additional user 0: think of digital products that don’t require content creation like Instagram, Slack, Facebook, Houseparty, and Snapchat. Skype, Zoom… The additional cost to the user is negligible. Bottom line, we have digital products like Netflix or companies like Ubisoft and Blizzard: they need to spend money on content (to create it or buy its rights), but this content has great scalability. On the other hand, we have products that depend (mainly) on physical products: Zalando, Outfittery, Marley Spoon, or the now famous WeWork: the “content” (items) price per user never exceeds. Economy This doesn’t mean that such products won’t work, it just means that they should look at scalability better than others.
The final stone to building a great product, the icing on the cake, is when the product can create a “virtuous circle”.
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The value chain is what makes a product more valuable or more painful to disappear depending on the user’s access to it. Consider how Spotify gets more value for you as it learns more about your tastes. Similarly, imagine the pain of losing all your contacts or all the appointments in your calendar or all the recipes saved in your cooking app.