Learning Product Management from City Administrators

Two real stories, one long and one short, and an observation on how you can learn product management from city administration.

Story 1: Caring about unmet need

I live in Greater Noida, which very clearly has been designed by people who thought a lot about city planning and had lots of creativity. Roads are very wide (even small streets are 4-6 lanes), Sectors have Greek names (Alpha, Beta,..), and every type of property has a designated location (all schools together, all colleges together, all factories together, all shops together, etc.). Continue reading

Enabling Product Managers to manage Product Experience

In my last post, Product Manager, or Product Experience Manager, I described the disparate features and experiences that got broken in SiteZ and made the case that product management team should be responsible for overall product experience. In the final post of this series, I will present my views on how product management team should manage experience so that such issues can be minimized or avoided. Note that I am not talking about creating initial product experience or its next version, which is a topic of itself. I will focus only on managing the product as it goes through incremental changes.

There are 3 questions that must be answered by product management team at all times (and should be asked periodically):

  1. Are we seeing all the activities we should be seeing?
  2. Are we processing all the activities we see?
  3. Are we making good decisions based on our processing outcomes? Continue reading

Product Manager, or Product Experience Manager?

In my last post Experiencing the product, or productizing the experience?, I talked about my experience with SiteZ and how their overall experience left much to be desired even though the core product was good enough. In this post, I will try to analyze things that went wrong which shouldn’t have.

Here are 5 things that went wrong for SiteZ if I look from a customer’s perspective:

  1. They misled the user about the time it takes to register.
  2. They didn’t allow the user to abort the registration attempt gracefully (which left the email address behind and created rest of the mess).
  3. They were not forthcoming about who is sending me these spam emails (the email address was hidden with a display name that was the advertiser’s).
  4. They exposed a feature to me (unsubscribe) which didn’t work
  5. They didn’t give me an easy way to delete my account – emails bounced, UI didn’t have a button to delete, etc. Continue reading