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Making Trade-Off Decisions in Product Management "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs 3 May 2017 True Design, Mobile Product Management, ProductTank, Trade-Off, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 463 Product Management 1.852
· 2 minute read

Making Trade-Off Decisions in Product Management

ProductTank July was all about making those tough trade-off decisions in Product Management.ProductTank July

We heard from Harry Jones, co-founder and CPO, at Top10.com and Azmat Yusuf, founder and CEO of Citymapper, before witnessing a mock debate between Mixcloud co-founder, Nico Perez and Moonpig.com, product director, James Henson .

First up was Top10.com’s Harry Jones,  who talked about about “focus”, using some real-life case studies to explain how he goes about making tough product decisions. Based on his experience building several successful startups he outlined the five trade-off strategies he uses to prioritise product features and markets to concentrate on.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Just say no! Great advice – less is sometimes more (Google homepage, iPod etc!)
  • If you’re only building a few features, you can build to a higher quality
  • Use time as an idea filter – sleep on it!
  • Your product instinct is not mumbo jumbo. It comes from numerous sources, tests etc. Trust it!

Reach Harry at @harryjones | LinkedIn

Next we heard from Citymapper’s Azmat Yusuf who talked about “the things you don’t do”. He discussed how to best divide your product focus between current and future projects and explored some of the factors that play a role in deciding which problems are worth solving.

Some or the things we learned included:

  • Don’t compete – survive and pursue unsolved problems
  • The things you don’t do help define what you actually do
  • Target a problem and do ONLY what is necessary to solve it. Test early
  • Don’t launch, just keep moving. Launches are distracting, cause lock-ins and create unnecessary pressure
  • Build the team first around the vision. Figure out the trade-offs once you know what you have to work with

Say hi at @azmingo | LinkedIn

Finally, for a little change of pace, we saw Mixcloud’s Nico Perez and Moonpig.com’s James Henson take part in a mock debate on a real-life, trade-off scenario. As a co-founder of a successful startup, Nico has had to make a number of tough trade-off decisions. He used his lessons learned to argue his approach to the trade-off, arguing for ‘mobile first’ design. James, on the other hand, used his experience in dealing with difficult product decisions and resource constraints to make a compelling case for his approach, designing for the desktop first.

In favour of building for mobile:

  • 1.2bn mobile web users globally. 25% in US are mobile-web ONLY
  •  20% of UK retail purchases are mobile web

In favour of building for desktop usage:

  • Future is mobile, but for big-ticket items it’s still desktop

At the end of the debate, the audience had a chance to vote. They voted in favour of desktop first! Let us know which approach you prefer in the comments

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