“The way” of product development

Simple yet powerful product development framework.

A simple yet powerful framework for life is:

  1. Do many small experiments.
  2. Double down on the wins.
  3. Ruthlessly cull the failures.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

As long as your experiments do not entirely wipe you out, you are on the right path.

Borrowing the above philosophy to product development.

  1. Try many small product experiments.
  2. Measure the outcome.
  3. Double down on the wins.
  4. Cull the failures.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

A way of product development 

You have an idea for a feature. You wear the user’s hat, chisel the feature, add embellishments and create the complete end-to-end implementation plan. Since the feature is in your head, you do not know how your users will perceive the feature—you have to assume things. You develop the feature and release it. All this time, you are building in a vacuum—without real-world data. Since the feature is end-to-end, you spend significant time, energy, and resources on developing it. It might turn out that your assumptions were faulty, and your users do not see the value in the feature. All the time and effort gone for a waste. 

Since you invested vital time into the feature, you spend more time trying to fix it. Nothing comes out of it; finally, you let it go, and the useless feature lingers on in the product. Instead of analyzing what went wrong and drawing lessons from it, you search for proof to justify why the feature was essential and how it was not your fault that it did not click.

“The way” of product development

You have an idea for a feature. You create the smallest possible experiment(MVP) to validate it with real-world users. You build the MVP, release it, and collect data. If you see a positive outcome, you double down and enhance it. If not, you nix the feature and move on to your next idea.

Since it was a quick experiment that did not require considerable energy, time, and resources, you are happy to call it quits and draw lessons from the failed experiment.

With this methodology, you are not building castles in thin air. You are continuously iterating using real-world user feedback. As long as the cost of doing these experiments is negligible, you can carry out many of these, collect data and chart the course of action based on the data.

A word of caution

This is not an excuse to be sloppy or try random things. With great power comes great responsibility.


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Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash

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