Product Manager’s Handbook #9: 6 Biggest Myths About Product Development
The first thing that’s important to know is that digital product development is very different from traditional, physical product manufacturing. It’s much more unpredictable and the deliverables are constantly changing. With physical products you always know what you’re aiming to deliver. With software, not so much. So, let’s bust some myths about product development:
All Articles In This Series:
- Two Key Principles Of Product Management
- How To Make The Best Project Decisions As A Product Manager
- How To Be A Great Product Management Leader?
- Why Is UX So Important For Product Managers?
- Using UX Techniques To Make Better Product Decisions
- The Best Mental Models For Product Managers
- Testing From The Product Manager’s Perspective
- How To Use Deadlines Effectively In Product Management?
- 6 Biggest Myths About Product Development
- A Day In Life Of A Product Manager
Myth 1: Utilizing more resources equals faster delivery and better performance
The first big misconception many product managers fall into is that by utilizing the most of your resources you will deliver the product the most efficiently. And it seems like it should be true. If everyone on the team works 100% of the time, you should deliver the product quicker, right? Well, not necessarily. With accounting tasks, when you add 10% more work, it will take 10% more time. But with software development, adding 10% more work might take 50% more time. Just because the tasks are more complex and the deliverables are not always clear. By utilizing a 100% of your team at all times, you might actually cause bigger delays and lead to your team’s burn out. The more work you shove at the team, the more tasks will line up. And it can decrease your team’s efficiency and impact their performance negatively.
Myth 2: Working on big batches of tasks gets the work done quicker
The next myth we’re going to talk about, actually also sounds true in theory. If you work on a big batch of tasks at one point in time, you will get the work done quicker and better. But with software development that’s not the case. Let’s take design for example. If you have 50 screens to design, test and develop you could design all of them at once and then move on to testing. But that might cause you to spend more time improving them later. If you just designed a few first and tested them before moving on to the rest, you will be designing with testing insights in mind, meaning there will be less to improve later on. And it will actually reduce the testing and development time. It’s all agile and design thinking is about.
Myth 3: Sticking to the plan
Let’s move on to myth number three. Sticking to the plan. Again, it sounds like sticking to the plan is a great way to achieve goals. But as a Product Manager you already know how much can change during the project. And that’s precisely why sticking to the plan can have a disastrous effect on your team’s delivery. If as a PM you refuse to bend a little and adjust to new requirements and just focus on following the plan set at the beginning of the project – the end product will not be what the users expect and need it to be.
Myth 4: The sooner you start, the sooner you finish
Now this sounds really unbelievable. But there are certain cases when starting sooner won’t get you to the finish line quicker. Some PMs fall into this trap but sometimes starting earlier means starting with less resources, less people on board or team members still working on finishing other projects. All those things will make you deliver later. If you wait until all the resources are available and have the complete focus of all team members, you will deliver quicker.
Myth 5: More features mean happier users
Here’s a myth that personally hurts me. When working with clients you will often come across people who think that the more features their product has, the more users will love it. But it’s simply not true. Not only more features delay the launch but they can actually negatively impact the User Experience of the product. Let’s say you’re making a pill tracking app for elderly people. And decide to add activity trackers, food trackers etc. It might overwhelm them and using the app might become an unbearable chore. Of course, this is just the first example that popped into my head, because the features of a product need to ultimately be decided through user and market research.
Myth 6: Getting it right the first time
The last myth we need to bust is getting it right the first time. It’s a big trap that many managers fall into. They delay the launch until they think the product is absolutely perfect. But the truth is, it’s impossible to get it right the first time. Sure, testing helps, but some things are impossible to predict and prepare for. So, while you should ship a complete product (remember when I talked about never trusting you deliver a second version of the product?), you should never strive for absolute perfection, because with product development it’s just impossible to achieve.
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