My fellow entrepreneurs and I are living in a blessed time. Open source technology and initiatives like Amazon’s web services and Google’s cloud hosting have made developing a web application quicker and cheaper than ever before. Running in parallel to the declining development costs is the growth in popularity of new and powerful programming alternatives like Ruby, Node.js and Python. These amazing improvements have turned the world of product development on its head and has resulted in a world which is more competitive and disruptive.
As a first time entrepreneur responsible for planning, designing and ultimately bringing my solution to the world, product management has been a big challenge. In order to meet this challenge head on, I decided to adopt a kind of mantra which resonates in all areas of my startup. That mantra is “simple, intelligent, powerful”.
These 3 characteristics form the frame of our solution and help with focusing our efforts in both planning and developing our solution. This mantra is how my co-founder and I approach product design and management.
The Power of Simplicity
One of the most common errors made when designing a web based service or product is that it is too difficult to use. People are lazy and have options. This mix allows people to drop your solution and move onto one of the other 100 alternatives out there. Make sure that simplicity is at the core of whatever you are building. A great way to strengthen this core component is to watch how people interact online with different solutions and even your competition and then integrate the common behavior, imagery and symbols into your solution. A simple solution has no learning curve and this will result in a high adoption rate. The easier it is for users to adopt and start using your service the better.
Don’t Just Build A Machine, Build A Learning Machine
If your web service is dealing with big data and you are waiting for the day your database is growing exponentially in size then you will need to design your service in such a way that you will be able to benefit from this ever growing gold mine. Make sure you plan for this from day one and work closely with your developers to make sure this is implemented correctly. If you are able to build a system which learns and thus improves over time, your users will receive more value and be happier.
Make It Powerful
The last of the 3 keywords from my mantra is power and its purpose is to remind my co-founder and I to build what is needed and to make it work well. Too many new services jump on the bandwagon and simply implement every feature they see being used and this is a bad approach. Make sure you are building a few important core features and implement them well.
I hope that this post will help other product managers and developers to better define the core components of their development plans and use Simple, Intelligent, Power as a guide to build the best applications possible.
If you have your own product management mantra then share it with the rest of us in the comments section below.