Product Management Planning – Start with the filling

I was recently speaking with an experienced Dev team for one of the startups I advise, they had to develop 3 products with 3 corresponding databases that all feedback into 1 central database, each product was for a specific part of their business and had to be developed to fulfil the needs of each of the 3 groups of users that would make the business successful.

The Dev team worked fast, and knew how to prototype the product effectively. But somehow had ended up some what stalled. 1 database on product had been shipped and they were prototyping the second one, but they were struggling to make the connection between the first and second products.

Effectively they’d chosen to build the two cookie parts of the Oreo and missed considering the white filling in the centre (the best bit!)

So we went to the birds eye view of the products, and instead of focusing on the features and UX and how each user would use each tool, we focused on the white filling *Between* each of the products first… we started with what, why and how each product would interact with the others.

Doing this step first, meant that we were able to understand how each user group interacted with the other, what data needed to be accessible between products and what that meant in terms of user needs and features for each product.

We approached this ‘white filling’ step by using user case statements and excel dashboard mock ups to get some understanding of the information transfers needed. 

By starting with the ‘white filling’ the dev team were able to then focus on the individual products with more context. In effect the ‘white filling’  acted as a map of the streets, drains, subway stops around a building plot, allowing an architect to determine the optimal locations to place entrances or parking access. 

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