Notes on Marty Cagan’s Root Causes of Product Failure

(from Marty’s talk at 2015’s Mind the Product, posted on Vimeo, link here)

This quick note only catches the last ten minutes of his 50 min presentation, which was all good stuff—use the link the watch the whole thing!

Product teams—managers, designer, dev—need to work side by side to come up with the best solutions

A strong discovery process is key to developing a good product

MVPs are essential tools for testing, learning and validating (and aren’t Product 1.0!)

The job of the product team is to:

  • Take the company’s overall vision as a starting point
  • Break it into smaller ideas, usually ones that can be completed within a quarter
  • Use MVPs to guide the discovery process
  • Find the best product/market fit through testing
  • Figure out how to deliver that MVP’s value as a scalable product

Use discovery to get evidence to validate that products are valuable, usable, feasible and ethical (the last two are rarely considered)

  • Valuable = would people use it
  • Usable = could people use it
  • Feasable = can we build it and can our stakeholders support it
  • Ethical = should we build it

About Marty Cagan (from his company bio): During the course of the past 30 years, Marty Cagan has served as an executive responsible for defining and building products for some of the most successful companies in the world, including Hewlett-Packard, Netscape Communications, America Online, and eBay.

Before founding the Silicon Valley Product Group to pursue his interests in helping others create successful products through his writing, speaking, and training, Marty was most recently senior vice-president of product management and design for eBay, where he was responsible for defining products and services for the company’s global e-commerce trading site.

During his career, Marty has personally performed and managed most of the roles of a modern software product organization, including product management, software development, product marketing, user interface design, usability engineering, technical writing, software testing, engineering management, and general management.

Marty Cagan can be contacted at: cagan(at)svpg(dot)com or on Twitter at @cagan

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