In this digital breakout session sponsored by Indicative at #mtpcon London 2022, Esmeralda Martinez, Head of Product at Indicative by mParticle discussed placing bets and taking smart calculated risks on your product roadmap.
Watch this video in full or read on for key highlights from the talk.
What is a product bet?
Esmeralda opens by defining what a product bet is: “a bet in product is making a decision—whether it’s about a new feature or product—around an uncertain future” A product bet involves a number of definitive unknowns and dealing with that existence. “The important thing is to maintain a strategy around the calculated risk,” It’s not meant to be blind, or random. But educated, informed, and calculated.
Why is betting important? Learning requires failure, she says, it’s important to create a safe space for making bets to teams know what success and failure look like.
What makes a good vs bad bet?
Where lies the difference between a good bet and a bad bet? Esmeralda mentions data first. “You need to understand what the data means. It’s about focusing on both qualitative and quantitative data,” she says. This gives you the foundations to make a good bet.
Although you need the data, you also need to trust your gut and intuition, she says. This comes from experience. It is a misconception that this instinct comes from thin air, but this comes from all of your lessons learned and experiments from talking to customers and making past decisions.
For the bet to be worth it, it’s important to have a value-based outcome. Where you intend to go with your bet and what you are trying to achieve are crucial as you determining your product roadmap. “Your goal helps inform you what questions to ask as you figure out what bets you want to place.” Measure if you are achieving your outcomes through timeframes and metrics.
Finally, a good bet requires embracing uncertainty. There are always going to be unknowns, Esmeralda reiterates. “It’s important to find the balance between being informed enough, and making a vague bet,” she says. Don’t let the fact that others haven’t tried it before influence your likelihood of testing a new bet in the market.
Betting best practices
Esmeralda goes on to discuss the best practices of placing product bets by listing the key ‘do’s’ and ‘dont’s’:
- Run experiments
- Be accountable
- Maximize resources
- Reduce risk where/when you can
- Look forward. Be excited
- Strive for all the answers before beginning
- Iterate too quickly or thoughtlessly
- Lose innovation to error prevention
- Reject new thinking
- Spread your resources too thin
- Inaction because of risk tolerance
- Be controlled by pessimism or fear
Based on her failures and successes with placing bets inside Indicative, Esmeralda closes by saying: “Be comfortable with failure, you won’t always win, but when you do, the jackpot is big and worthwhile.”