For whom do we develop our software?
Of course, we develop SABIO for our customers, because they use the software. Consequently, they are the ones who know best what we should focus on in the further development of SABIO.
No, wait, when our sales colleagues participate in tenders they find out what is “hot” at the moment and what we should definitely develop next.
And the consultants, who hold the training and workshops at the customer’s premises, get a first-hand impression of where there is still room for improvement, so they know best what is in demand.
Hold on! That’s what you hear from the neighboring office – the colleagues from Support receive customer requests day in and day out and can tell you in their sleep what customers need most urgently.
But wait, the colleagues with technical background knowledge from IT and Development know our code best and are the ones who keep an eye on technical developments and ensure the future security of the software.
And, of course, the management always has a say, too.
In this conflict situation the question arises: Who is actually “right”? Whose vote counts the most and whose wishes do we implement first?
What is clear is that everyone is right. And everyone has a right to address their wishes and requirements to product management. And this is where the crux lies – how can we as Product Manager / Product Owner actually know which decision is the right one and how can we focus our work on the right points?
The dilemma is: we don’t know. The future is always uncertain. What we can (and should) do is to draw up hypotheses that are as valid as possible by taking as many perspectives and as broad an alignment as possible (i.e. a common understanding of the parties involved). These hypotheses explain what we want to achieve and how we can measure the result. So we want to check whether we have achieved what we set out to achieve.
Data and customer feedback
We cannot always prove or disprove our assumptions with data, but they are usually an important support. More relevant, however, is direct customer feedback – and that’s where we get back to the starting point. So we check whether our customers are using the new feature the way we thought they would and whether the desired result is achieved. The question here is always: how can we find an even better solution to the underlying problem we want to solve with the feature?
Thus, a product manager is a bit of a jack of all trades in product development: We have to be able to listen very well and communicate proactively at the same time so that all parties involved can understand us. We have to understand our customers’ problems in order to be able to offer suitable solutions based on our broad and deep product knowledge (which, in turn, we prepare for and communicate to the development teams so that the results corresponds to what we have so wonderfully come up with). And finally, we should be able to self-critically question our solution and see how it could work even better.
Work true to the motto “Don’t fall in love with your prototype”.
Like to talk to the people behind this article? Just give us a call, we’d love to hear from you:
Head of Product Management
Telefon: +4940 851927-0