Lemon #66. The root causes of failed product efforts

Lemon #66. The root causes of failed efforts

While reading ‘Inspired’ from Marty Cagan, we learned about the root causes of failed product efforts: 

If you didn’t see the post about stages of a tech product, I suggest you taking a look before reading this post since it’s quite related. 

  • The source of ideas: When ideas become from stakeholders, that is not the source of our best product ideas. This approach leads to a lack of team empowerment. In this model, product team is just here to implement – they’re mercenaries. 

  • Business cases: When stakeholders ask us ‘how much money would this product make? or how much it will cost?’ is kind of a nonsense for a business case since at the stage of a startup, we have no clue about either of these. It’ll all depend on how good the solution turns out to be. Even most experienced engineers will refuse to even give an estimate at this stage.

  • Product roadmap: Half of our ideas are just not going to work. There are many reasons for an idea to not work out. The most common is that customers just aren’t as excited about this idea as we are. The second truth is that even with the ideas that prove to have potential, it typically takes several iterations to get the implementation of this idea to the point where it delivers the necessary business value.

  • At this point, the role of product managers is more about gathering requirements and documenting them for engineers. And honestly, this is 180 degrees away from the reality of modern tech product management. 

  • Maybe the biggest missed opportunity in the waterfall model is the fact that engineering gets brought in way too late. We say if you’re just using your engineers to code, you’re only getting about half their value. The little secret in product is that engineers are typically the best single source of innovation.

  • The biggest flaw of the waterfall process has always been that all the risk is at the end, which means that customer validation happens way too late. 

Marty Cagan @ Inspired.

Jorge Moreno

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