Build the Right Things — A 5 Step Plan to a Rock-Solid Product Roadmap

Building a product is complicated. There are many factors that drive the decision of what to build and when. You may get a feature request from an important client. Your customer service department might be flooded with tickets about a feature that doesn’t function intuitively. Your competition might have released some shiny new features and now you have to up the ante. You may want to reach into a new vertical to position yourself for market growth or a future acquisition. You might have to overhaul your architecture to scale with demand. Your CEO might have just returned from a conference and has a brilliant idea about a new opportunity. These and other factors are constantly clamoring for your attention and resources. How do you objectively decide what to build and when?

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You're Doing Scrum Wrong, and Here's How to Fix It

When the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was first published, it was not a process, but a set of guiding principles. These principles were later turned into the Scrum software development process, which gathered a passionate, cult-like following. Two of the core, foundational principles of agile development are reflection and continuous improvement. By creating tight feedback loops of iteration, analyzing the meta-process of product development, and constantly experimenting in order to improve communication and efficiency, these early Scrum teams were able to efficiently deliver high quality software while being able to quickly adapt to the shifting priorities of the business.

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The Silver Bullet — How a User-Centered Culture Can Solve All Your Product Development Problems

It took me years of reflection to understand that all of these issues stem from a single root cause: We were treating software development like an assembly line, instead of a creative, collaborative process. My engineers were thinking about the tasks, not the product. They weren’t connected to our customers or the mission of the company. When we introduced a User-Centered Culture, where every person in the development process is engaged with and has empathy for the users, all of these major problems went away.

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Getting to the “Aha” Moment — Creating a Killer Onboarding Experience

Your onboarding flow is, without a doubt, the most important aspect of your product. It is the user’s first interaction with your brand, at the time when they are most skeptical. It will determine whether or not your users will churn or be retained. In order to create a great conversion funnel, you must have a killer on boarding experience.

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Keep Your Promises — How to deliver software on time

We’ve all experienced a rough development cycle, where we get bogged down by unexpected problems and scope creep. Our CEOs get frustrated when product timelines slip, and our efforts to explain the chaos does little to help. We are all familiar with agile development, but it takes discipline to keep a constant and clear communication flow throughout the development cycle. When you make a promise to your boss, how can you reliably keep that promise in the chaotic world of a startup?

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How To Avoid Design By Committee — Developing an effective product design process

All startup teams are filled with people who are passionate about the product, with strong opinions about how to best solve the customers’ problems. While their hearts are all in the right place, and the product could be designed in a multitude of ways, it must be developed in only one way. As a designer or product manager, you need to listen to their feedback, but ultimately decide on a final design. How can you create a cohesive user experience when everyone thinks it should be designed in a different way?

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The Grand Retrospective — Applying Agile Principles to Your Product Roadmap

The core principles of the Scrum Manifesto, and why it gained such a cult following, are reflection and continuous improvement. The purpose of Scrum is to tighten the iteration cycle and hold a retrospective at the end of each cycle, in which you analyze and adapt the process to continuously improve. This tight feedback loop allows teams to gel quickly, establish an efficient process, eliminate waste, and adapt to changing priorities easily. This is what makes agile development so great.

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