productboard CEO Hubert Palan recently sat down with Eric Boduch, Chief Evangelist at Pendo, for an episode of ProductCraft’s Product Love podcast. The two had a lively discussion about balancing delight and functionality when building products, productboard’s Product Excellence methodology, and greater trends in the discipline of product management.
Read on for some of the most intriguing insights from their chat.
On balancing delight and functionality when building products
“Products fundamentally solve two groups of needs: functional and emotional. A product has functions that are purely utilitarian. But then the other part is how you feel while performing that utility. It’s the art and the science. Excellent products are those that satisfy both of these needs. You get the job done in terms of utility, but it also sparks that joy and delight while you are doing it.”
“Incorporating delight into your product is hard, but it’s a sustainable, long-term competitive advantage. Because there’s always more delight to be created, while with the functional, utilitarian dimensions of a product you can reach a point of ‘good enough.’”
On the Product Excellence methodology
“There are best practices for how to make products, just like there are best practices in how to define the sales process, for example. And I really see Product Excellence as a set of best practices you can follow that will result in superior products. So I coined the term Product Excellence as a way of describing this set of best practices and the underlying methodology.”
“Product Excellence is when your product vision, strategy, and execution are not only clearly defined and grounded in a deep understanding of the market, but are shared with the whole company so everybody is marching in the right direction. It’s a team sport.”
On “the golden age of product management”
“You see companies realizing that digital products are critical for success even in traditional industries. Digital product management is a revenue-generating opportunity. So the CIOs and other traditional roles are in a situation where they have an opportunity to create a product that contributes to the top line. Look at what Dollar Shave Club did with the razor ordering process. It’s still a razor business, but the differentiator is the digital experience.
I see that as the grand scheme of what’s happening in the product management world. Because the impact is so large, more companies are appointing Chief Product Officers. Product used to sit in the marketing or engineering organizations in traditional companies, but now with the importance of digital products, a whole new separate function is created for them.”
On the best way to prioritize feedback
“Create a process to continuously listen. Read support tickets, do one-on-one user research, and then put systems in place that enable you to do this at scale. Because if you collect feedback in spreadsheets, Evernote, or something similar, you’ll need a system to help you process it. There’s simply too much information.”
On the jobs-to-be-done framework
“Jobs-to-be-done is a framework that helps product makers focus on the needs of the users and their problems rather than just the solution. The core of it is to always define the problem that you are trying to solve.”
On up-leveling the product organization
“This [product management] is a team sport. If you have friction in the company, there’s a root cause. Usually it’s around alignment — what everyone is doing and why. So I always tell teams to really understand who the customer is, the problems they are going after, and what products and features they are going to deliver to address the problem.”
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productboard is a product management system that enables teams to get the right products to market faster. Built on top of the Product Excellence framework, productboard serves as the dedicated system of record for product managers and aligns everyone on the right features to build next. Access a free trial of productboard today.