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Product Management Webinar: Prioritizing Customer Needs

How to Prioritize Customer Needs with Dan Olsen

We all know that most new product initiatives fail. A big reason for this is that teams are often too focused on the solution they are building and aren’t as clear on the customer problem they are supposed to be solving.

Watch this webinar with special guest, Dan Olsen, product management trainer, consultant, speaker, and author of ‘The Lean Product Playbook‘, and our host, Janna Bastow, CEO of ProdPad as they explore how to focus on solving customer problems and ensure new product initiatives succeed.

About Dan Olsen

Dan Olsen is a product management trainer, consultant, and speaker, he also wrote the bestselling product management book ‘The Lean Product Playbook‘. Through his talks and interactive training workshops, Dan helps companies build great products and strong product teams. His clients include Google, Facebook, Uber, Amazon, Box, and Walmart. He is also the founder of the 11,000-member Lean Product Meetup community.

He is excited to teach a live upcoming online course on How to Create Successful Products from March 15-22 on Maven.

Key Takeaways

  • Core reasons why new product initiatives fail
  • How to prioritize the different opportunities we could pursue?
  • Real-world examples and case studies that illustrate prioritization frameworks
  • How to use the Importance vs. Satisfaction framework
  • How to create real value for your customers
Dots watching a webinar

[00:00:00] Janna: Hey, everybody. We’re gonna be hearing from Dan Olsen, our webinar guest today, on how to prioritize customer needs.

But before we jump into that, I want to tell you a little bit about ProdPad. ProdPad is a tool that was founded by my co-founder and myself when we were both product managers. And it’s a tool that was originally made to solve our own problem. We needed something to communicate the backlog that we had. We capture all the ideas communicate the high-level problems on our roadmap gather all customer feedback prioritize all the ideas and experiments. It’s nothing like this existed at this point in time. We built it ourselves. And we started making it available to other product people around us. And it’s now used by thousands of teams around the world.

It’s completely free to try. You can jump in and start your trial at any point in time. And remember that it is a tool built by product people. We’d love to hear your feedback. You can jump in and start a trial. But we also have an entirely free open space called the Sandbox, where you can jump in. And it’s a pre-loaded account. It has all this data pre-loaded, like example roadmaps, example OKRs, experiments, feedback. And you can play with it. You can move it all around. You can see how it all fits together. And use it as inspiration for how to build your own lean roadmaps and see how you wanna build out your own product space. Jump in, and let us know how you get along with it.

And I wanna highlight a new thing that we’ve got in beta right now, which is the ability to prioritize with confidence. For the longest time, you’ve been able to prioritize based on the impact and effort and see which ideas have been updated most recently, those are the ones that go bright pink and then fade away to gray. But we’ve added a new layer in ProdPad, which is confidence, where you can see which ideas have very little confidence and which ideas you’ve got lots of confidence in. And by confidence, you’ve done surveys on, you’ve done prototypes for. You’ve done a lot of things to prove that this idea is, in fact, the right thing to work on. You can now layer that data into ProdPad and use it to help make prioritization decisions.

That’s enough about us. I wanna introduce you officially to Dan Olsen. Dan, I know Dan through the Mind the Product network. Dan has done workshops and has spoken at Mind the Product, which uh, many people know that I’ve been involved with as one of the founders for years. Dan is a product management trainer, consultant, and speaker. He also wrote a best-selling book. I’ve got it right here, actually my own copy. Thanks for signing my copy, Dan, the Lean Product Playbook.

And through his talks and his interactive workshops, Dan helps companies build great products and strong product teams. His clients have included the likes of Facebook, Google, Uber, Amazon, Box, Walmart, and more. And he’s also the founder of the 11,000-member Lean Product Meetup community. Everyone, join me in welcoming Dan Olsen. 

[00:02:47] Dan Olsen: Thanks for that, Janna. Appreciate it. Nice to be here with everyone. Thanks for setting this up. And love your bookshelf, by the way. It’s, that’s awesome. And yeah, it’s a pleasure to be here with everybody. I’m excited to talk about one of my favorite topics today, which is how to prioritize customer needs. For those who may not be, thanks for that great introduction, I’ll be really quick here. If you don’t know about my background, I actually started out with a technical background. Different people take different paths to product management. My parents got me a computer when I was a kid. I’m really glad that they did. Because I became comfortable with coding and computers. I was an electrical engineering major.

And then, my first job out of college was actually submarine design. Now, once I got into product management, I realized, hey, it wasn’t terribly different. It was just very technical, but it was still thinking a lot about requirements and constraints and cross-functional collaboration. But after doing that for five years, I decided, I wanna get more on the business side of things. I think I should go get an MBA. And that’s what brought me out here to Silicon Valley, where I live. I was fortunate to get into business school at Stanford and had a great time there. And while I was there trying to figure out what to do after graduation, this is a little while ago, I heard about this, emerging growing career called product management. And the more I learned about that, the more exciting it sounded. And I realized, hey, I’ve never actually done product management. I should probably go where you can learn.

And I asked everybody, where’s the best place to learn product management? And he said Intuit. I started my product management career at Intuit. It’s a U.S. company that makes QuickBooks small accounting software that’s used by, I think, o- over 80% of small businesses, TurboTax personal software, and it’s used by over 80% of individuals, and also quick and personal finance software, which I worked on. I learned a lot about product management, a lot of what I’m gonna share with you today, I learned some of those principles there. As Janna said, I’m the author of Lean Product Playbook. And I spend my time what we’re doing, what we’re doing today, talking to groups of product people, product teams, training, and consulting. And I’m also the founder of Lean Product Meetup. I’ll tell you more about that later. Janna already mentioned all the companies that work with, the bottom line is I’ve worked with companies in every space, B2B, B2C, and every size, from Fortune one all the way down to like bootstrap startups. I’ve seen a lot of patterns. And I’m excited to share some advice today on, how to prioritize customer needs, so you can be more successful.

And I know the product manager is usually very busy. We rarely take time out of our day, to do a webinar like this. Thanks for taking time out of your day for those of you that are here. And I wanna take advantage of the fact that a bunch of people are together by sharing one of the most precious pieces of product management, information, and knowledge out there. And that’s a product manager’s motto. Now, some of you may know this, but I’m guessing many of you don’t. You may not even have known that we have a model, right? It’s a bit like Spider-Man’s motto. And if somebody wants to chat, can somebody help me out? We must have a Spider-Man or Marvel fan out there who can… Thanks, Glen, appreciate it. Who can give me Spider-Man’s motto? With this many people, somebody should be able to do it. I’ll give people a second to type it in chat to prove that they are… There we go. Vikram got the first part. There we go. Vikram and Joe got it exactly right.

Spider-Man’s motto is, with great power comes great responsibility. The product manager’s motto is similar. It’s just a little different. And it’s with great responsibility that comes to no power, right? We were responsible for delivering a successful product. We’re responsible for all hitting, our OKR is responsible for hitting our data, all these things, right? Yes, cool, exactly, Greg. And no one reports to us, right? We have to beg and convince and persuade, right? We call it influencing without authority, right? It would be nice if people report to us, but can’t just boss people around. And what we know as product managers we’re often responsible for many things, right? Depending on the structure of your team, you may be doing wireframes, you may be doing QA, and things like that, and helping sales outright. So, It’s a very elastic job that can vary from place to place.

But one of the things, the common things that we’re responsible for no matter what is delivering a successful product creating a successful product, and making sure the product is successful. And when we go to do that, and we all know by the way, there’s like a lot of products that don’t succeed, there are statistics out there depending on which survey or study you look at, 80, 85, 90% of new products fail. And I wanna hopefully today I’m gonna teach you to do very specific techniques that will really increase your odds of product success to beat those odds.

And when we are, with our team trying to talk about what we’re gonna build, a common question that comes up is, hey, what features should we build? This is a very common discussion that teams have, whether it’s PMs with stakeholders or PMs with engineering or designers, right? And it’s a very common question, but actually think it’s not the best question that we could ask. And I would argue that, instead, we should be asking what customer needs can we address, right? And this kind of gets into a topic that’s near and dear to my heart that I’ve been talking about for a long time, which is the idea of the difference between problem space and solution space, and I’ve been talking about this since 2006. And I’m really glad to see… you see the phrase problem space a lot more in blogs and tweets and LinkedIn and things like that.

But let me explain it real quick, right? Problem space is a customer problem need or benefit that the product should address, right? It’s you’re really trying to separate what problem we’re trying to solve from what solution am I gonna go after to try to solve it? For those of you that know, I’m sure many of you here know the template for a user story, a well-written user story, which is, as a blank type of user, I wanna be able to do blank, so I can, enjoy this benefit, right? That last part, “so I can,” is really the essence of prompts, is like, why would a customer care about this? Why is it gonna create value for them, right? And by following that template, you’re gonna get clear on the problem space.

And let’s say give an example of this. Let’s say, I just felt like, gosh, it’s just too hard to share photos with your friends. I wanna make it easier to share photos with your friends. That statement, “make it easier to share photos with your friends,” that’s a problem statement, right? I’m getting really clear on how am I trying to create value or solve a need for customers. I haven’t… if you think about it, I haven’t actually said how I’m gonna solve it? I didn’t say, oh, yeah, I’m gonna build an app to do that, or I’m gonna build a website to do that, or a service to do that. I didn’t talk about it, right? And that’s the idea, is you wanna be able to separate the problem from the solution.

Solution space, in contrast, is a specific implementation designed to address the need. If the very next thing I said after talking about the problem of, hey, I wanna make it easier for people to share photos with friends, if the very next thing I said was, yeah, and last week, I launched an app on the AppStore to do that, then that app would be in the solution space, right? If you build a product, the product is in the solution space or a feature. It’s not just at the park level, the feature level, right? Or even if I didn’t code anything, or nobody coded anything yet, but I had a set of mock-ups that my designer friend gave me for the app, that set of mock-ups would also be in the solution space. That’s the difference, right? There’s, in the abstract, what’s the problem, customer problem, we’re trying to solve? And then, what’s the specific solution we’re going after?

And one thing right away you can see is, for any given problem, there could be thousands of different potential solutions, right? And the reason I share this is because, in my experience, far too often, product teams go rushing to solutions, right? Hey, I think we should build this feature. And everyone starts building on and saying, “Yeah, let’s go design the feature, build it, and launch it.” And they may not have taken the time to really make sure they’re clear on the problem. Sometimes, it’s in their subconscious or implicit, but it doesn’t become explicit. Sometimes, people just rush into solutions without really thinking about it too much.

And back to those statistics of like over 80% of new products fail, I think this is one of the biggest causes as to why, is people just rushing, and building a solution without getting clear on the problem. And by the way, the first step is getting clear on the problem. The second part is validating that’s a problem, right? Validating with customers and going and talking to customers to make sure your hypothesis is right.

That’s a big part of why products fail, is a difference here. And one thing real quick, speaking of roles on our product team, we’ve got developers, designers, and PMs, and probably more functions to like QA and other roles. I’m not trying to diminish their role. But if we had, if I have to sum up like, what’s your main responsibility for each of the main roles? As the developer, I would use the word develop their main job is to develop. Where are they developing? They’re developing in the solution space, right? They have to launch code that works in the solution space. They’re firmly delivering solution space deliverables.

About the designer, if I had to summarize their job in one word, what would it be? It would be design? Pretty easy, right? They’re designing mock-ups, wireframes, prototypes, CSS, all that. Guess what? That’s also in the solution space, when you’re working with pixels and things that are in the solution space.

Okay, what about the product manager? If I had to pick one, one verb to describe their job, it wouldn’t be manage, because manage is too high-level and vague. I would actually use the word, “define.” Our main job is to define who’s the customer and what are their problems, right? And if you think about it, at the end of the day, yeah, we may comment on some code or comment on some, design deliverables, but at the end of the day, that’s the dev’s job and the designer’s job. What’s our unique value-add to the team? It’s the problem space, right? And if you’re not paying attention than problem space, then who is on your team, right?

And the other thing that happens here, too, is oftentimes there’s some new technology wave that comes along, right? Crypto or blockchain or something. And everyone goes, oh, my gosh, just go do crypto blockchain. That’s starting with the solution. That’s basically what happens, right? And you can see waves of startup VC funding following these things. And anyway… It’s just that, that you see that happen a lot. Once you realize this dichotomy between problems and solutions space, you start realizing. And hopefully, after this talk today, next time in your feature team meeting, when somebody says, “Hey, I think we should build this feature at a drop-down,” hopefully, a little yellow flag goes up in the back and says, “Hey, wait a minute, they just propose a solution, right?”

And this fits in with the main framework for my book and how I like to think about product market fit that I developed, which is the product market fit pyramid, right? The product pyramid starts with, who’s the customer, right? Just like that agile user story template, as a blank, I wanna blank as a blank type of customer, we’d like… we need to start with the customer. And then, we identify for that customer, what are their underserved needs? We’ve got the words needs here. We don’t get the features until up here, right? We wanna start off by getting clear, what are the needs? What are the problems that we can address? And then, you get to your value proposition, which is okay, how are we gonna meet those needs in a way that’s better than the competition? This is where product strategy and differentiation lives.

And then, after we have a solid foundation of who’s our customers, what are their needs, how are we gonna be better, then we brainstorm features, right? And if you do that, the features you brainstorm and build, if you can clearly tie it back to customer problem, your odds of success are gonna be way higher. And then, we get on to user experience. One thing I like to do is to just say, okay, which of these five layers which, by the way, are like the five key hypotheses you need to get right enough in order to achieve product market fit. They don’t have to be perfect. But if any one of these is off, you’re gonna not achieve product-market fit. Which of these layers on the problem space… Yeah?

[00:13:09] Janna: Dan, can we ask a question?

[00:13:10] Dan Olsen: Yeah.

[00:13:10] Janna: Are we supposed this? Are we supposed to be seeing your screen?

[00:13:11] Dan Olsen: Oh, my gosh, of course, you are the whole time, guys. Don’t be shy. If you don’t see… I’m sitting here talking to you.


[00:13:18] Janna: Now, we need to see the pictures. We don’t [laughs].

[00:13:21] Dan Olsen: Got it. Okay.

[00:13:22] Janna: There we go.

[00:13:22] Dan Olsen: That’s… I’m glad that I can do high-fidelity descriptions of slides verbally. That’s okay. Good. We’re here just to show a couple of. Thanks for catching that. It’s funny, because a lot of times, when I do workshops when you come back from breakout rooms, Zoom touch cuts off the share. And depending on how polite the crew is, I can go minutes. I’m at the very beginning if you never… if you hear me talking and you don’t see a screen, just jump up. It’s… you’re not gonna annoy me.

[00:13:46] Janna: I was waiting for my time to say, “Over to you, Dan.”

[00:13:49] Dan Olsen: Yes, all good.

[00:13:49] Janna: So you can do your thing. And I’m gonna come back on when the questions come up. 

[00:13:53] Dan Olsen: Yeah. No, yeah. You do this interesting fireside chat.

[00:13:55] Janna: Alright, cool. We got this.

[00:13:56] Dan Olsen: I just wanna show this screen with problems pre-solution space, right? This is so you can see the definition and you can see these, template with the part highlighted, right? Yeah, as an attendee, exactly, David. Thank you for your user story. I’m sorry. I didn’t solve your cust- now, I can solve your customer problem. Sorry about that, right? Yeah. And here’s the pyramid with the five layers. Okay. And then, here’s… this is really where I was going. It’s just to highlight which of these layers if you think about which of these layers in the problem space versus solutions space, the first two layers are in the problem space like your value prop is the transition from solution to problem space. What happens when you just jump in and say, “Let’s build this feature,” you’re like you’re jumping in step four. It’s of like ready, fire, aim, right? It’s and that’s why the odds are so low. Let’s just build this thing. It’s what we say in the States, you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks and hoping something sticks, right?

That’s the idea, basically, right? What I wanna do is I’m gonna… I’m glad we have a lot of people here. I saw a lot of people here from the States, which is good, because I wanted to see if we can explore problem space with a product that actually, this time of year, sorry, y’all it’s mid-March, we have a month when we have to do our taxes here in the United States. Every year, each person is on the hook to prepare and file their taxes. And April 15th is the deadline. Everyone’s getting a little stressed in the U.S. about doing their taxes. And everybody’s buying TurboTax and starting to do it probably now or shortly, right?

I’m gonna need some participation from the audience, especially if you’ve used TurboTax, right? But a high level, we can say what problem do they solve, right? Help me prepare my taxes. But what we wanna do the trick to creating product market fit is like getting to deeper layers. And that’s why I like to show an onion as a model helping me prepare my taxes, that’s of like the whole onion or the outer layer of the onion. And the trick to delivering high levels of product market fit and customer value is really peeling the onion and getting really specific and insightful about the problems.

For any of you that have used TurboTax in the last few years, if you could chat in here, if you wanna tell me what… and just try to stay in the problem space, don’t mention a feature but just telling me, as a customer, what do you find valuable? How does it benefit you? Let’s see what people say. I’m gonna give people a couple minutes to type in, those of you that have used TurboTax. Let’s see what we see here.

Okay, so William says, I can complete my taxes in a few hours right.” it’s quicker, right? It’s funny because, in the process, we do custom research. People use different words. We’re not robots. We’re gonna use different phrases. He said, he can complete taxes in a few hours. I would flip it around and say, save me time on my taxes. Cool. Fill in the blank. I think, knowing what I know about TurboTax, I’m guessing Chris meant hey, it asks you questions. And instead of having a know what the heck to do, they just ask you questions, and you just answer the questions. And next thing you you’re done. Claire, confidence the IRS will be coming after me. That’s great. Awesome. Holly, it’s quick. See, instead of a few hours, she said it’s quick. They’re both saying save time, right? Saves hours of work inputting data. Nice, Bruce. Submit my taxes correct correctly, rollover of data from year to year. That’s a great one. That’s a good example. Rolling over data year to year that’s a benefit to you, no doubt. But… and sometimes people say data import or something like that. And then, I like to say, okay, so why is that? That’s when I bust out the five why’s to try to get clear about the problem.

And when I ask people, why is the fact that it saves your information from year to year valuable? They say then I don’t have to re-enter it again.” I’m like, “Great, why is that valuable?” And they eventually get what back to the same benefit? It saves me time, because if I had to type it in, it would take me more time, right? That’s great. All the tax breaks, exactly. Guidance, step-by-step, knows the rules. Helps me navigate myriad tax laws. Of course why should you know? Exactly. Great. I don’t get audited, synthesizes rules, fast way, good. Awesome. Yeah, a lot of great, a lot of great… Thank you very much, a lot of great things there, right?

what I wanna show is… and that’s what you wanna do. For a second, let’s imagine we were on the TurboTax product team either working on version one or working on next year’s version. What we wanna do is what we’re doing here in the chat real quickly, a quick and dirty version, which is what I call exploring the problem space. Given that the market problem we’re trying to solve, it’s helped me prepare my taxes, what are all the different, detailed layers of the onion that we could do that would help contribute to helping me prepare for my taxes, right?

And here’s an example. And, but yeah, I think everybody covered pretty much all the most of these, right? These are customer benefit statements. These are problems base statements, right? Help me prepare my taxes, reduce my audit risk. Somebody said, check my return for accuracy. “Save me time preparing taxes,” which people brought up. Save me time filing, a couple of people mentioned filing, right? Instead of printing it out and going to the post office, I can just electronically file in minutes. Maximize my deductions, make sure I’m getting all the breaks that I know that my bill is a smaller my tax do is as little as possible. And cost me less than a CPA, right?

These are problems statements. What you wanna do is brainstorm like we did in the chat. That was awesome. And then, just clean it up and de-dupe it because there are several people that say, “Hey, it’s quick. It saves me time.” Those are the same thing, right? And so here we have save me time preparing, save me time filing. Two different saving times.

Now, there is a certain way I like to write these. And, you didn’t know there’s gonna be a grammar quiz here. But basically, these all start with the same part of speech, right? Anybody got some Grammarly folks here who can help me out on the chat with what part of speech it is? It is verb. That’s right. Chris and Amanda and Joe, that’s right, verb. Here in the States, when I was a kid, we had this cool cartoon thing on, in where they would basically teach you all about grammar. And there was one where the superhero verb that’s what’s happening because he did all these things, right? Just we wanna start with the verb. If you think about it, it’s the buildup of, so I can. You’re gonna put a verb after that, right? And it’s better to do that, because it makes you get really clear on, what is the product actually gonna do to create value for the user, right?

A lot of times, I’ll run workshops, and someone will say security. And then, I go, I’m like, I’m like what part of speech is security? It’s actually a noun. doesn’t really clarify, I’d rather say make me feel safe than security, right? Or, protect my privacy instead of privacy. It’s a little thing, but it just helps you get clear on the problem space, right? And you wanna do is brainstorm and then create this list and de-dupe it. And it will be a little messy. You can see the chat was a little messy. Dan, glad you liked Schoolhouse Rock. Yeah, it’s a little messy, as you can see. But you can totally make sense of it.

And one thing you’ll find as you’re playing around with these and you’re organized, you’re like, hey, you know what? These three are distinct. But when I go out and talk to users about these and I do the five why’s thing, like I was just doing on why is, your data rolling over from year to year valuable, each time I ask why I’m trying to get the customer to go to a higher-level benefit… so that’s the thing about the problem space and benefits, is there’s different layers. Some people may come at you with a very detailed benefit, or you may brace from a very detailed benefit. I like how it figures out my, my cost basis, all my securities. This is very detailed. When somebody say, “I love how it gives me peace of mind,” like that’s super high-level right?

And by asking why if you envision like a ladder, envision a ladder and the ladder has rungs on it, the first answer you get from the customer is like the bottom rung of the ladder. Each time I asked them why, I’m trying to get them to go one level higher on the ladder. And why is that important? What you realize is, hey, these three benefits, while they are distinct at this detailed atomic level, when I do the five why’s technique, I realized, hey, they all ladder up to the same macro benefit of improving my confidence, which a couple of people mentioned, right?

And the way that narrative might go is, hey, before TurboTax, I always had to do file my taxes. I didn’t know the tax policy changes here. It’s super complicated. I’m not good with math or computers. I had to file and it’s very nerve-wracking. And then, a friend recommended TurboTax. It just asked me a bunch of questions. Next thing you know I’m done with my taxes, and I feel a lot better about it, feel a lot more confident, right? That’s the benefit ladder. It’s the first benefit ladder.

And the second benefit ladder is save time both of these have to do with save time. And the third benefit ladder is saving me money, whether it’s saving you money by reducing your tax bill, or saving you money because it costs us in an account, right? These are the three benefit ladders. And you might get excited to say, cool, I’m gonna have three or four layers. So, You don’t need three or four levels. Really, two is enough, right? Cleaned up list of atomic benefits, organized by the benefit ladder. And this is what I call we were exploring it before, but now we’re becoming more definitive. This is what I call a problem space definition. And this is, frankly, as a PM, when we say your main job is to define, this is part of what you should be doing, right? So, You should have with your team.

Now, we haven’t necessarily said these are all great opportunities to go after, but we’ve at least explored what could we do that we think would might create customer value, right? You have to do a little bit of suspension of disbelief here. In a second, I’m gonna show you how do we take these and then prioritize. And that’s exactly what this main talk is about. But the setup, the prioritization framework, I had to set up the problem space definition, right? If you do this, and when you have this, the interesting thing is say you’re on the TurboTax team yeah, you don’t need to screenshot everything I’ll have a link to where you can get the size at the end. At the end of the day, most things that the TurboTax is doing is, is they brainstorm some new feature idea, I bet you it’s just another way to either improve the customers’ confidence, save them more time, or save them more money, right? You end up with these like evergreen benefits. Now, what’s exciting is, every once in a while, you’ll brainstorm and come up with a fourth problem that you can solve, like a new benefit ladder. It’s a very exciting time. But a lot of the time, once you get clarity on this, you’re really just trying to do a better job on your main benefits.

Okay. Once you’ve explored and define your problems base, the next question, some of your thinking it is great, gosh, this is six different… no, seven different needs. How do we decide which one we should focus on, right? How do we decide which customer needs to focus on? Another way to say it is, which needs offer the largest opportunities to create customer value, right? And when I was trying to answer this question early in my career, trying to prioritize a bunch of opportunities, I tried a lot of different frameworks. And the one that really worked the best, and the one that I love to use and recommend, is importance versus satisfaction. I wanna explain this to you. And then, we’ll apply it and see how we can use it.

Okay. The importance is on the vertical axis. For whatever user need we’re talking about, save time, save money help me reduce my tax, but whatever the benefit is, help me peace of mind, how important is that need to the target customer? And again, everything is a function of the top customer. If you ask one customer, they might give you high importance. If you ask a customer in a different target market segment, they may say low importance. In fact, that’s what defines the target market segment as cohesive, is they answer the important question for a given need in the same way, not exactly the same score. But they cluster together, right? That’s the idea. For our customer, how important is you go need by need, and you score the importance.

On the x-axis is, okay, however that customer, target customer is getting that need met today with whatever solution you’re using today, how satisfied are they with that, right? And they can be very happy, high, or they can be unhappy with how they’re getting that need met today, right? That’s the idea. And to start out with, we’ll just do low, high, low, high. And if you’re thinking, this sounds good, but how do I get this data down? How do I do this? It’s really simple. It’s… really, you can have a little rating scale, right? And for example, how important is need x? How important is it to save time when you’re filing your taxes, right? And I like to use a five-point scale from not important, which is kind like zero, all the way to extremely important, which is 100%, basically, right?

And obviously, if we’re doing a survey of a lot of users, you can imagine doing this. I actually like to do it, even when I’m doing one-on-one discovery interviews, so that when I ask them how important is it, I don’t get some vague answer, “That’s important to prepare for me.” And I’ll pull out the scale, either in a Google Doc or if I’m physically doing it, and say, “Can you point on the scale where the importance is, so I can?” I’m trying to get some pseudo-numerical data, right? At the end of the day, I’m gonna have small sample sizes. It’s not gonna be statistically significant. But I’ll get a sense from the people that I’m talking to.

Next, for satisfaction, when it comes to satisfaction, people can be satisfied, but they can also be dissatisfied. Tthey can be happy, they can be unhappy. We need… unlike importance, we need a two-sided scale that has negatives and positives. And I like to use a seven-point scale with the neutral in the middle, right? If you’re thinking about how would you get this data that’s the idea. But honestly, even as I say in my book, with a sample size of zero, even if you don’t talk to any customers, this can be a very powerful tool for your team to use so that you are getting alignment on which needs you think are the best assault, right?

Let me explain this. Let’s divide this into two quadrants of low, high, low, high. And let’s go through each quadrant and talk about what the characteristics of each one are, okay? In the bottom left quadrant, we have, for whatever user you were talking about, it is low importance to our customers. And in this bottom left quadrant, whatever solution they’re using today, they have low satisfaction with, right? It’s low. In this bottom right quadrant, it’s also low importance of user need. But there’s high satisfaction with whatever they’re using today. At the end of the day, you actually want to try to avoid these two quadrants, right? They’re not worth going after with your precious time and resources, right?

Why is that? Because the main key to delivering customer value is to solve a higher importance need. Basically, the higher the importance, makes sense intuitively, the higher the importance of the need to the customer, the more value it’s gonna create. We actually wanna try to avoid these. Of course, nobody says, “Hey, let’s go address a little importance need,” no, he does this on pur- purpose. But what happens is they made a bad hypothesis, maybe they thought they were the customer. Maybe, they thought it was important. They didn’t validate with customers. And then, they, worked on it. And they launched and you realize, hey. That’s, that’s part of why products fail.

Okay, in the upper right quadrant, we have high importance of user needs. That’s better, right? Instead of low importance, people are saying, “Yes, this is important to me.” But we also have high satisfaction. Yes, it’s important to me, but I’m pretty happy with what I’m using today to get that need met. This, for me, is a definition of a competitive market, that’s what a competitive market is. And the example I always think of first here is Google internet search, right?

Let’s practice our let’s practice our problem space skills. If you had to take a step back and say Google internet search, what problems are solved for me, or what customer need does it address, what would you say? Let’s see what people say here. Yes, Richard, you can ask people to force rank it, and sometimes, everyone will give you a five of importance on everything. Then you can either use a seven, make the scale bigger or force him to rank it. Yeah. Alright, find content, find the site any… Yeah. And yeah. I think if I take it all, something like, yeah, I like the predict part. That’s good. Alright, answer my question. Get, find the information I’m looking for, answer my question, right? That was it.

And then, if I said to you, hey, let’s take a step back, how important is it when you’re using Google search and trying to get an answer to your question? How important is that, right? Is it a low importance or high? Let’s just keep it super simple as a low importance or high when you’re trying to get some question answered on Google, right? Most of the time, is it low importance or high? Let’s see what people say. High, yeah. For most people, it’s… Yeah, maybe we’re doing some midnight YouTube search, it’s not as important. But most of the stuff we’re doing, is important, right? That’s why it’s high importance up here. And then, for those people using Google search, if I ask them, hey, how satisfied are you? Would they be like, yeah, works pretty well. They’d be like, oh, this is horrible. It doesn’t really work. Most people would say, it’s good, right? Yeah. It’s often urgent, exactly. Yeah. That’s why it’s in the upper left corner. Hopefully, that makes sense.

And I’m not saying you can’t enter a competitive market, you should never enter a competitive market. But you… here, everyone’s wanting to hear people say you need to be 10x better than the competition. This is a quadrant where you need to be 10x better. You can’t just come in with a meet-to product because people are happy with what they have, they’re not gonna go through the pain and effort of switching, right? If you just have a meet-to copycat product, that doesn’t offer any advantage, they’re not gonna do it.

Okay, that leaves the upper left… Yeah, ChatGPT is a good example of a disruptive innovation, which we’ll talk about in a sec. Thanks, Dan. Yeah. In the upper left, the last quadrant, we have high importance, usually. And that’s good, because the time points. And we have low satisfaction with however they’re getting it met today, right? It’s really important. And people are saying, I’m actually not that happy with the solution that I have.” That’s the quadrant where opportunities lie. That’s the quadrant where they lie. And they won’t be there forever, because there’s a lot of other companies and teams trying to find them. But if you analyze the market, you can find these opportunities, right?

And back to the, back to what I was saying about over 80% of projects fail, the two main reasons they fail are, one, people start with solutions and they don’t get clear with the problems, right? The second thing is the idea that they’re going after, the need that they’re going after isn’t in this upper left quadrant, right? If you take nothing away from my talk today, a few minutes in is, hey, start with a customer problem before you go to solutions. And make sure you find a problem that’s in this high-importance, low-satisfaction quarter. If you do those two things, your odds of product success are gonna be way higher, because now it’s just down to execution of the features and the UX because you’ve actually identified something that customers are actively telling you is gonna create value for them.

And what I like about this framework, it’s meant to be a visual framework. What I’m trying to say is, let’s imagine we have a product, we surveyed our users and asked them to score the importance and the satisfaction. And we get the numbers back and we average the numbers. We’re gonna have an average satisfaction score, which we can use as an x coordinate, and an average importance score, which uses a y coordinate. And we can plot our product there, right? And when we do that, it’s gonna make a rectangle with the origin. And the idea is basically, hey, the bigger… when you plot the important satisfaction product, the bigger the rectangle makes, the more customer value it creates, right? That’s the idea.

And if there’s another product represented by this green dot, which addresses the need with this level of importance, and this satisfaction, it’s rectangles gonna be that much bigger, it’s just creating that much more stuff. And that effort is a second pass. This is like the first pass of prioritization. Later on, we will do ROI, where we’ll take the value and the effort into account. This is the first pass that I think. And honestly, I think product managers should be doing this before we even take ideas to engineering to scope, right? This is how we decide what, are we even gonna bother having them scoped?

And let’s say the green product was our product, right? One way to think about what we’re trying to do is, hey, we’re currently addressing this need with this level of satisfaction. How can we, address that need with more? How can we increase the satisfaction? And when you see it that way, you realize, hey, wherever the best product is in the market, like you’ll say, this is the best part of the market, how much room is there to deliver to go all the way to 100% satisfaction? That basically, that’s another rectangle, which the size of that rectangle is an indicator of how much opportunity is there to create customer value, right? And if the green product was our product, we’d obviously wanna try to increase how much customer value satisfaction we’re creating, right? And the bottom line is, hey, the bigger… wherever the best product in the market is, the bigger that area of the rectangle to the right is, the bigger the opportunity. Where is that rectangle the biggest is in this upper left corner, right? The closer you are to this corner, the bigger that rectangle to the right is gonna be, and the greater the opportunity to create customer value.

For one second, we’re gonna geek out on math and say we can write the formula of the area of that rectangle to the right. And it’s basically the height of the rectangle, which is the importance, times the width of the rectangle to the right, which is one minus the satisfaction. Now, this is as far as I got in my book. I always wanted to create a powerful visualization, so you could get it more intuitively. And a few years after my book came out, I finally created this heat map where you can see this opportunity score. You don’t have to run any numbers or anything from that previous formula. But it shows you, what is that score when you run the numbers for everything from zero to one for importance and satisfaction, right?

And you can see, it basically reinforces the simple quadrant analysis that we did, right? Basically, if you think about the four quadrants, the bottom right quadrant low importance, high satisfaction, that’s dark blue. And just to be clear, the brighter, the higher the color, the red, orange, the more the opportunity score is, right? Down here, if dark is blue, smallest opportunity, because it’s low importance and high satisfaction. This quadrant, even though it’s low satisfaction, it’s still important. still relatively blue. This quadrant, even though it’s high importance, it’s high satisfaction. It’s also relatively blue, right? And it’s really that upper left quadrant where you’re gonna find those opportunities to really create a lot of customer value. And again, the closer you are to this corner, the better.

Now, some of you may be thinking, gosh, those numbers and surveys and all this jazz. Yes, there’s… you can do it that way. But you don’t have to do it that way. You can also do it qualitatively. wanna provide you with a quick hack on how to prioritize these needs without having to do any numbers. And honestly, without having to talk to any customers. Now, I’m not saying don’t talk to customers. What I’m saying is it can be useful with your team to do this internally, and then, of course, go validate it and test it with customers.

How do we do this? What we do is we take the importance of satisfaction space and we divide it up into a grid, right? This is a three-by-three grid with low, medium, high. If you wanna get more granular, go for four-by-four or five-by-five. You probably don’t need more than five-by-five.

Next step is write each of the benefits your team is thinking about on a sticky note, Post-It note. And then, step three is, discuss and debate with your team the relative importance and satisfaction of these, and then place the sticky notes on the thing, right? We’re basically saying, okay, save time is the most important, right? Save money is the highest satisfaction. This one’s medium, right? And we can debate with our team and we have these rounds.

Here’s the quick hack. Now, you could superimpose the heat map behind it if you want. There, you can do is you can just draw a line from this corner to each of the Post-It notes. And basically, the shorter the line, the bigger the opportunity, because it’s closer to it, right? Without doing any numbers or anything, we can say, okay, save time is number one, improve confidence is number two, save money is number three, right? This is a very quick and powerful exercise you can do with your team. I do it all the time with my workshops. And it’s amazing when you see, some benefits on the upper left quadrant. Everybody agrees and sees why we should be focusing on those. Other ones are in the dark blue. And then, people go, “Yeah, I guess that’s really not the best opportunity to go after,” and we get alignment on that, so you can use this trick. And I wanna explain, someone mentioned ChatGPT. So, ChatGPT, I would argue, is a disruptive innovation, right? Google Search was sitting there. Everyone’s happy with it. And also, now, we’re, they’re worried that, oh, my gosh, is the search paradigm gonna just go away or be replaced, if not fully, partially, by ChatGPT? That brings up disruptive innovation.

And I wanna show how we can, how I can explain disruptive innovation using this framework, right? Now, the first thing I have to say is far too many people and teams think or claim they’re doing disruptive innovation, they’re actually doing disruptive innovation, right? Especially here where I live in Silicon Valley, I just had coffee with a friend. The power was out here. I had to go to the cafe, just to get some work done. And I overheard all these people, it’s like, oh, yeah, disrupting is always be disrupting, I wanna give a more formal definition of what it means to disrupt. And luckily for me, I have an instructional video that explains disruptive innovation. I’m just gonna sit back and play this video. Alright, here we go.

[00:36:19] Speaker 3: This is a tap to uh, you know, what we use on stage. But it’s very special, because if you can see, yeah, the numbers all go to 11. Look, right across the board, 11, 11, 11 and…

[00:36:32] Speaker 4: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to 10?

[00:36:35] Speaker 3: Exactly.

[00:36:36] Speaker 4: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?

[00:36:38] Speaker 3: It’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not 10. Most blokes, you will be playing at 10. You’re on 10 here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on 10 on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

[00:36:50] Speaker 4: I don’t know.

[00:36:51] Speaker 3: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

[00:36:57] Speaker 4: Put it up to 11.

[00:36:57] Speaker 3: 11, exactly. One louder.

[00:36:59] Speaker 4: Why don’t you just make 10 louder and make 10 be the top number and make that a little louder?

[00:37:08] Speaker 3: These go to 11.

[00:37:10] Dan Olsen: Okay. Our friends from Spinal Tap have given us, the definition of it. Basically, in a nutshell, disrupt… true disruptive innovation means taking it to 11. And what do I mean by that? If we go back to the importance of satisfaction, what it means is, you can view this satisfaction axis is going from zero to 10, right? Imagine it goes from zero to 10. And in fact, on next time I do this actually replace this with zero to 10. The 10 to 11 makes is even clearer.

But what it means is, hey, we’re sitting here with satisfaction 10 out of 10. There’s some product meeting the need. Or if you ask all those people, it’d be like 10 out of 10. This thing’s awesome. 10 out of 10, 10 out of 10. And then, something comes along, a new technology comes along, that basically takes it to 11 or 12 or 20 or 100, if it’s a true 10x innovation, right? What does that mean? It basically redefines the scale of the satisfaction axis. That things that people were fully satisfied with now, the new technology enables higher performance. They’re… now they’re like this new thing’s even better, right? There was nothing like blatantly wrong with the previous thing. But some new technology enabled higher satisfaction, right? That’s the idea of taking it to 11.

To illustrate this concept, I wanna talk about… Let’s use a need, let’s talk about a need that a lot of us have. I’m sure a lot of you’d like to listen to music on the go, right? I like to listen to music on the go. That’s a problem space. Amen. Listen to music on the go. Let’s talk about the solutions that people have used over time. Let’s go back to the ’80s. Let’s get some chat audience participation. In the ’80s, if you want to listen music on the go, what was the top solution that you would use? That’s right, Vikram, Walkman. That’s right, you would use a Walkman, right? Sony Walkman. And before the Walkman came out, there wasn’t anything really like it. And it came along. And all says wow, this is amazing. Everyone was happy. Everyone was walking down the street with the headphones. Listen to their mixtapes. If I ask all the Walkman people how satisfied, they would say 10 out of 10, 10 out of 10, right?

And then, what happened, though, right? Then, the mp3 player came out. And at first, honestly, the first few were rough, right? They didn’t hold that many songs. The battery life wasn’t that good. They were complicated to use. The UI wasn’t great, yeah, to sync it with your computer, which was a pain. But eventually, they got better, right? They held more songs and mixtapes would and tapes would. The battery life was better. They’re lighter. They’re more portable, easier to run with, things like that, right? And that was the new 10 out of 10. And it redefined the axis. It took it to 11 and push the Walkman down a little bit, right?

And then, what happened? Then Apple came out with their iPod, right? The ultimate mp3 player, had the most storage, the best battery life. This great screen in this awesome click-wheel UI. It was super easy to find your songs and play them, and super easy integration with the iTunes store to buy your music and manage your music, right? That took it to 11 over the other mp3 players. And then, what happened? Now, we don’t use those anymore. We basically just listened to it on our phone, right?

What I forgot to mention, too, is the problems don’t change that often, right? People have been wanting to listen to music on the go for a long time. And here in the span of, 30 years, we’ve got four different solutions, that I’m leaving out are things, you people mentioned the Discman crews out there. Not so great when you’re running because it was getting a little bigger and heavier, before this, you had listened to a transistor radio, maybe or something, but it wasn’t as good, right? But the solution… The problem didn’t change. But the solutions come and go. And we can get creative for a second and say, hey, back in medieval times, if you wanna listen to music on the go, what was some of the solutions that people would use, right? What would you do if you could afford it in medieval times to see what people got in chat? People say, it’s the same problem. I People are having this for hundreds of years. Yeah, troubadour or minstrel, exactly, right? If you could afford to have some bar follow you around and sing, awesome. That’s how you solve that problem.

Now, what I wanna do is apply this framework to illustrate to explain, to use it to explain why do some products succeed and some products fail? Okay. And I wanna do a talk about two case studies side by side. And those two products are Segway and Uber, okay? Hopefully, people are familiar with this. Uber, obviously, it’s a popular ride-sharing app, competes with Lyft. Those two probably have, over 90% market share of that ride-sharing. Obviously, it varies, depending on geography, but they are the main ride-sharing, right? And then, Segway, I’m sure many of you have heard of it or familiar with it. Basically, the founder of Segway was gonna create… created this personal transporter that he called. And he was convinced everyone was gonna have one by Wendy’s, right?

Let’s start out with Segway and we’re gonna build our products skills here, okay, our problem space skill. Let’s start out with the Segway. Let’s forget about the technology for a sec, and let’s just say what problem did it solve for people? Or, what’s it intended to solve for people? Let’s get some chat participation here. What problem was Segway, intended to address for people? Exactly, Diego, perfect, getting around short distances and traveling short distances. And I like how you add the modifier, “short,” because if you got to go to Paris or something, you’re gonna take a plane. Or, if you have to go a long way, you need to get on a plane. Something about [inaudible 00:47:52] is excellent, right?

Now, and I don’t wanna move my legs, okay. You got to step on the Segway, sorry. But so that’s good. Now, what we do? Let’s talk about the importance. How important is it for most people to travel short distances? You can say low or high in the chat. Yeah, it’s high, right? We’re constantly traveling short distances to go to the store to go wherever, right? Now, and that would mean, I would plot it like this, right? We take the benefit, travel short distances, and we say it’s high important. We put it up here high, right? That’s the idea.

Now, before the Segway, which we all are writing Segways now, before the Segway, what was the top solution that people would use, the most common solution to travel short distances? Yes, walking. Everyone’s saying walking, right? And one person actually wanna ask about the problem for the Segway. They said, I don’t wanna walk. Now, the one thing you wanna try to avoid is like getting your chocolate in your peanut butter, is you wanna avoid putting a solution in your problem. When you say the problem is avoid walking, you got some… what I call solution pollution. I didn’t have time to get into it, but there’s a term I call solution pollution when you not cleanly defined the problem. We wanna avoid putting it in.

Anyway, the cool. Walking was the top for the most part, most common frequently used for the short distances we’re talking about. How satisfied were people with walking? For the people… most people that walked, with a low satisfaction or high satisfaction? 10 out of 10, yeah, right? Seven out of seven, okay. Dan doesn’t like to walk. Depends on your shoes, okay. Yeah, it’s fine, right? Whether it’s a 10 or a nine or an eight, whatever, it’s high satisfaction, right?

This is where I plot walking. I put it here in the upper right quadrant, because it’s high importance to travel short distances. And for the most part, most people are fine. We have high satisfaction. Obviously, there could be segments of the population, that, for various reasons, it’s not high satisfaction, right? But for most people, it’s… I would argue it’s high satisfaction.

This was the market landscape when the founder of Segway came in and said, “Hey, I’ve got this cool new technology. It cannot auto-balance. It charges electronically. And it can take you around a lot faster than walking.” He was gonna take it to 11, right? Walking is sitting here at 10. He said, “I’m gonna take it to 11 and do this, right?” This is what he was trying to do, right? He was trying to basically say, walking. Everyone’s so happy with walking, they don’t know. And they haven’t seen anything yet. Wait till they see the Segway, they’re never gonna walk again. It’s gonna be just like the iPod with the Walkman. They’re never gonna use a Walkman again. They’re never gonna walk again. It was gonna be something like…

If you read the press releases and the interviews, he was convinced everybody in the United States and most of the world was gonna switch from walking to using a Segway, right? However, he built a product and launched it. And that’s not how thing… I’ve got to go look up the Time Magazine cover. If someone can share a link, that’d be cool. I don’t have that. That’d be awesome to see.

And by the way, there was a fine thing on LinkedIn. It’s putting all the recent CEOs that have gotten in trouble. They’re all on the cover of I think it was Fortune or Forbes or something. It’s yeah, not a good thing to be on the cover. Yeah, if someone could chat… I’ll get it later, but that’s cool, right?

What happened, like it, it was a bomb. It failed. It failed, right? It was in the 80% of products that failed, right? And the founder was convinced that everyone was gonna use it. Most people, after they launched it, didn’t consider Segway speed benefit important. And when I talked about back to the pyramid, the foundation of the pyramid shark customer. One of the ways I like to describe is kinda like a fishing analogy, right? I’m not a serious fisherman. But if I wanted to go fishing with my friends, and we were fishing for trout what I have to do? I have to stop and think about or research, what did trout like to eat? And I would get that bait. And I would put it on my hook. And that’s when I’d go on the water, hoping that it would attract the trout.

Why do I share that metaphor? Your product is kinda like the bait. And the target customer is kinda like the fish you’re trying to catch. Sometimes, you throw your bait in the water and you catch the target fish, target customer. Sometimes, you throw your bait in the water, and you don’t, right? He thought he’s gonna throw the Segway bait in the water and all the various types of fish, a.k.a. customers, people that walk, were gonna bite it and go nuts for it. But that’s not what happened, right?

It turns out that, of all the broad audience, so it was a failure in a broad consumer offering. But there were two very specific customer segments that actually did use it and find the speed benefit important and switch from walking. Who are those segments? Can somebody? Any ideas in the chat? Yes, mall cops and tourists, basically, right? At the end of the day, and these are probably, if you see someone on a Segway today, it’s probably one of these two use cases people using it.

And the funny thing is, after we’ve launched our product and we’ve actually seen gosh, we thought we’re gonna catch all the different fish in the sea, we only caught tourists fish and mall cops fish. Now, what we can do is we have empirical data. Now, we can flip it around and say gosh, why did we only catch these two types of very specific fish?” What is it about these two types of customers that makes a Segway more appealing to them and not appealing to everybody else? What do people think?

Yeah. Somebody said they walk more than the average pers- the average person, that’s right. They walk a lot, right? They either walk long distances and/or frequently. People are mentioning both of these, right? The mall cop, yeah, maybe, the mall isn’t too big but he or she is constantly going around it all day. They’re adding up a lot of, kilometers or miles walking around. Tourists, when they’re not tourist, they’re not walking. But when they visit a city, they wanna see as much as they can. They don’t wanna get tired. They can see a lot more, cover a lot more ground, a lot more distances, right?

It’s in, in other talks, when I talk about the target customer or talk about market segmentation techniques, this is a behavioral market segmentation, right? What I could do now is my simple hack would be, gosh, if you tell me how many miles you walk for a week, I’ll predict whether you’re in the target market for Segway or not, right? If you’re less than 15 miles per day, if you’re, or whatever, right? If you’re less than this many miles, you’re probably not in the target market, right?

Let’s switch over to Uber, right? Uber, yeah. Tourists don’t mind because I’m never gonna be in that city again, right? It’s like I don’t care. Uber, what need is switch gears? What customer need does Uber address? Just build our problems-based statements here. Let’s see what we got, people have got for problems space. Okay. Alright, cool. I’m gonna speed up. I realize we’re kinda little short for time. I wanna give time for questions, right?

It’s basically take me where I need to go. And if I asked you how important is, and the way I like to say it is, how important is it to get to the airport on time? It’s usually pretty important. That’s why I put it high. Now, before Uber was around, what was the top solution that people use? It would be taxis, right? And if I ask you how satisfied you are with taxis, it would vary by city. But in a lot of cities, like outside of maybe London or New York, it would be low satisfaction because you have to call, and they don’t show up, and a lot of other stuff, right? And and we can break it down, like how satisfied were you with how polite the person was? How safe you felt? How easy it was to pay them? And then, what happens it’s basically an upper left quadrant opportunity. Unlike walking, which is upper right, taxis was upper left. And then, Uber comes along and addresses the same need with higher level of satisfaction, right?

I know we have a few minutes left. I wanna jump ahead and just summarize real quick. Don’t jump to solutions during the problem space. Create your problems definition with verbs. And then, score them within importance and satisfaction, and prioritize based on proximity at the upper left corner.

And you have two main techniques to try to create more value than the competition. The easiest and most straightforward and lowest risk is finding something that’s in the upper left quadrant and going after that like Uber did. The other one is you can try to go to 11 with disruptive innovation, but it’s riskier, as we saw with Segway. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it’s riskier. But those are two ways to do it, right?

briefly mentioned the Lean Product Meetup that I run. Every month, it’s actually virtual. With COVID, we took it virtual. Every month, it hosts the top product speaker. You’re welcome to go to, and join our group for free. That URL will be here, too. And yeah, if you want to copy my slides, just hold up. If you want to hold up your phone, you can do that. Or, here, I’ll chat. I’ll chat in the chat the link to the slide.

And oh, by the way, it’ll offer… ask you for feedback. I’d love to get any feedback you have. 

[00:50:10] Janna: Dan. Thank you so much for this.

[00:50:12] Dan Olsen: Yeah.

[00:50:12] Janna: That was really fascinating. And I really love being able to map things out and see where they sat there. Jennifer asked a question in the chat earlier. And I’m not sure if we got a chance to catch it, but she asked, did you do anything here to define important as in love it versus legal requirements for example? 

[00:50:27] Dan Olsen: Yeah. It reminds me of the sizes of Cold Stone Creamery. It’s love it, gotta have it, like these vague things. That’s why I like to use that scale. If you recall, I basically, maybe, the person missed that slide. I’ll pull it back up again, if you look at it, right? I like to use a scale, a rating scale, where we say how important is it. And in, in this case, it’s a five-point scale, from not important to extremely important, right? And there are best practices in how to word these. Thi- this follows kinda best practices and user research. Some relate to this. Somebody said what if everybody says,” and this happens once in a while. Everybody says, all 10 needs are extremely important.

You can try to go to a seven-point scale or more. But at some point, you might just say, “I need you to rank where the six that you said were extremely important. I need you to just rank order them to tease them apart. That’s… if you get into that scenario, that’s something you can do. You can also try to be like, you have $100 for these needs distributed that way as a way to try to break it up. But there’s some tie breaking things that you can do like that.

[00:51:25] Janna: That’s a really good point. Alright. Probably have time for another one here from Andinesh. What about the efforts and feasibility of developing a product? Do you look at that?

[00:51:31] Dan Olsen: Yeah, I addressed that. Yeah, I addressed that briefly when they saw it in the chat, which is, this is a first pass participation, right? Yes, if you look at my other talks, what we’re gonna wanna do later. Once we’re clear on which prompts in the upper left quadrant, then we’re gonna brainstorm feature ideas. And once we have feature ideas, we can estimate the scope of those ideas. And we’re going to use kind of the value from this part for the return part of the ROI. And we’re going to use the upper.

I view privatization as like a two-phase process. And what I propose is that, what I just showed you today, that’s what PMs should be doing before we bother… before we go to engineering to scope a bunch of features. We should start here, so that we’re weeding-out low importance, things that aren’t in the good quadrant, where we need those out, so we’re not scoping them. It doesn’t mean… this is like a precursor to doing the ROI.

[00:52:17] Janna: Okay, great. Alright, thank you very much. So I want to say a huge thank you to Dan for sharing his awesome stories and models on how to prioritize customer needs. 

Alright. Good stuff. Thank you everybody for jumping in on the audience participation as well. 

[00:52:31] Dan Olsen: Thanks, everyone. Bye. Thanks, Janna, for having me. Appreciate it.

[00:52:34] Janna: Alright. Take care. Bye.

[00:52:35] Dan Olsen: Bye.

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