Understand what is wrong with the current products and services and devise ways to fix, improve or replace the products. That is the central message from the creator of the iPod, Tony Fadell. The referenced article points out the main points of his method for designing products and it resonated with me as an extremely effective way of looking at product management, design and strategy.
Build your first prototype based on your gut feeling and then approach the experts in the field. However, the experts in the field should not dictate the features of your product and should only be used as another data point in the process. Often times customers, sales team members, management and industry experts have insolated views of the industry and your products and cannot always provide objective guidance.
You need to set direction for your product so your team, your management and partners know where the product is going. These stakeholders need direction so they understand where the product is going. Without direction the team won’t have guidance on how a decision should be made and this can lead to confusion in the products.
Passion, Presentation, Partnership & Getting Results
Whatever your idea is it needs to be driven by your passion to solve the frustration and capture the market opportunity. This passion will keep you motivated as you present the solution to your team and help to influence partners to support your product vision. Mr. Fadell also emphasizes the importance of shipping the product so your team will stay engaged and interested in your product. If you don’t ship your team will have nothing to put on their resume and they won’t have the sense of accomplishment they desire.
Getting Results and Doubt
Mr. Fadell makes an interesting point about not letting customers and/or stakeholders define your product for you. The definition of the product should come from a variety of sources and it is only when you really start to doubt your solution that you know you are on the right track. They key then is to push past the doubt and focus on the frustration and your associated solution.
I found these points particularly helpful as they address multiple phases of product development and show that you truly need passion to ensure your product is delivered and believed in by your team, management and partners.