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How to apply Lean Thinking to the role of product management?

source from: internalpublish date: 2023年6月8日


Lean is to achieve the desired results with the least amount of time. 

As a product manager, I summarize how to apply Lean in daily product management.

Follow established processes and standards step by step.

Follow the best practice requirements processing process, and do each step properly to avoid rework.

Do good time estimates to prevent endless investment. 

Product design work requires multidimensional thinking, and it takes constant improvement to come up with a better solution. Therefore, time estimation is not easy, but still necessary to prevent endless investment. How to estimate as accurately as possible? 

There are several commonly used steps:

Break down requirements 

There are generally two dimensions of breakdown: 1. breakdown according to specific functional points; 2. breakdown according to processing flows. It can be broken down to a relatively accurate evaluation granularity and does not need to be very fine.

Determine the goal for each requirement 

When setting goals, try to follow the MVP principle, but ensure that the functionality closed loop is achieved.

Estimate time for each split requirement

 Once the goal is set, don't change it easily. Our design considerations are usually: exists - usable - beautiful. If the goal of the first stage is "exists", then don't think too much about other aspects. As long as it does not violate general design principles, it is acceptable.

Refer to competitors to avoid reinventing the wheel. 

There are already many software products on the market, and the functions we want to do have basically been done by other software, forming a certain level of recognition in users' minds. Therefore, before starting the design, we can refer to the competition and learn from the good solutions and interactions to save more time than thinking alone.

Establish the page interaction plan first to avoid errors in interaction logic.

 For requirements with many functionalities, create an interaction plan first, which is a framework diagram (dividing them into pages, regions within each page, and what content will be placed in each region), get approval before drawing high-fidelity prototypes.

Make good use of templates for prototype design and achieve rapid prototyping. 

For the same page and components, managing templates well and using existing components directly when needed can save a lot of time instead of redrawing every time.

Focus on presenting data itself rather than designing the interface.

 For pages that present tabled data, using Excel for swift visualization since these needs focus more on organizing data, once defined, there's less need for prototype redesign.

Use common vocabulary to make it easier for clients to understand and reduce after-sales work.

 Using commonly-used terms in the property industry makes the client easily understand the product, reducing after-sales work. If some software terms are difficult to understand, add explanations.

Make good use of communication skills and cooperate smoothly with all relevant parties.

 Enhance communication and expression skills, clearly stating one thing in concise sentences. Product managers often communicate with the demand side, development, testing, pre- and post-sale teams. If it takes a long time to explain each matter, both sides' time will be wasted.

Format document writing for ease of reading. 

Requirement documents are meant for others to read, so it must be made sure that others can read it. During requirement review, review personnel, development and testing teams may review these at different times. If the document is difficult to read, readers will spend more time understanding the concepts explained in it.

Prepare well before meetings for efficient communication.

 Requirement review, requirement explanation, and product demonstration are basic daily tasks for a product manager, especially the former, taking up most of their time. Therefore, preparations for the meeting must be made beforehand; otherwise, it's not just wasting one person's time but everyone attending the meeting. Suggestions include:

• Identifying the meeting topic clearly • Sending out meeting invitations early to ensure a suitable time and advance participant understanding • Preparing for the meeting beforehand such as linking up computers, projectors, etc., to enable prompt start for the meeting • Staying on-topic during the meeting and promptly redirecting if deviating from the main objective.

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