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Google Wave sunset provides some interesting product management lessons
August 9th, 2010 by Joca

Last week Google’s announcement about the end of Google Wave made me review and rethink about some product manangement lessons.


Google Wave

Google Wave


Product discovery

Marty Cagan, former eBay Product Management VP and currently product management consultant, uses to say that all product management processes must start with a “product discovery” phase where we need to find out:

  • if there are customers interested in our product idea,
  • what’s the customer problem that our product idea intend to solve, and
  • if our product idea is the best solution for the customer problem.

Customer development

For Steve Blank, a retired serial entrepeneuer who started 8 technology companies, knowing the customer is so important that is not enough for the companies to have a product development process. They must have a “customer development” process prior to the product development, where customer demands and problems are the main focus.

More startups fail from lack of customers than from fail of product development.

Steve Blank

Featuritis

In a 2005 post at her “Creating Passionate Users” blog, Kathy Sierra shows happiness as a function of the number of product features. The chart is quite self explanatory:

Featuritis

Featuritis


As it is Google Wave screen. There are so many things one can do with Google Wave…

Google Wave

Google Wave


Useful, usable and desirable

Every product must be:

  • useful: how much do people need this product? It does what needs to be done.
  • usable: how easy is the product? Easy to understand. Easy to master.
  • desirable: how much do people want this product? They and their friends want the product. The product is worth the time and money investment.

We must always remember:

Tricycle

Tricycle


Source: http://flickr.com/photos/jevolella/437838621/

If ease of use were the only requirement, we would all be riding tricycles.

Douglas Engelbart, mouse inventor

Summary

  • Creating a product just because a new technology is available is shooting in the dark.
  • If a product doesn’t solve a real customer problem the chances of success of this product are nil.
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