Marty Cagan’s top 10 tips to making products customers love

One of the best videos I have ever seen about building products

  1. Have Vision and Passion – Belief that the way things are being done is NOT right. And, wants to change the way things work. Be stubborn on vision but be flexible on details.
  2. Know What You Can’t Know – Most business plans are wrong, everything is based on guesses. Identify
    1. Is this something working on? Is there anybody out there who wants this?
    2. Can your team build a product, which can be taken out in the market?
  3. Know What Your Customers Can’t Know – Customers don’t know what they want and what is possible. None of us know it what we wanted until we saw it. Talk to lot of customers to test customers and discover the product.
  4. Discover the Product – Identify what is Minimal Viable Product. Rules of thumb are
    1. At least 2/3rd of our ideas are never going to work.
      1. Customer don’t care
      2. It’s too troublesome to setup
      3. It’s too expensive to build it
    2. And for remaining 1/3rd ideas it will take 3 or 4 iterations to get it right

    Build prototypes – low fidelity or high fidelity and perform user tests.

    1. Could they use it?
    2. Would they use it? If not, why now?
  5. Dedicated Teams – Build dedicated cross functional product team – product, design, and engineering. If possible have these teams collocated. Have durable teams.
  6. Manage By Objectives – Give the set of outcomes and not only features or requirements. Measure by results.
  7. The Role of Design – Design is much more than look and feel or usability. Design is how it all works – the whole experience. Design should be targeted from day one.
  8. True Collaboration – Product, Design, and Engineering side by side. Product Manages bring deep knowledge of Customers/User, deep knowledge of data/industry/trends, deep knowledge of market AND how you make money. Engineers can bring in more innovation because they know what’s possible. If you are using your developers only to code, you are getting half the value from developer. But unless these three work together true collaboration is not possible.
  9. Product Culture – What matters is the culture you are putting in place when disagreements happen. But when disagreements happen you don’t guess instead you test. Data beats opinion.
  10. Embrace Pivots – Be able to distinguish vision from illusion. Sometimes you have to pivot but don’t keep looking for pivot.

Watch the entire video to truly soak up the brilliance and what these mean.