No Strategy. No Focus.
Before Prod MBA, even as a Head of Product I used to try to do too much: Build every feature, please every stakeholder & lacked a clear strategy to deliver value to customers & to the business.
Instead of finding a niche, trying to understand their problems, we would try to build for 10 different user personas - and have no impact with our products.
Instead of launching a simple value proposition to understand your market needs & gather valuable learnings, we would jump straight to building a long, complicated roadmap & endless list of features.
Instead of focusing around a product strategy, we would try to do a bit of everything & just said “yes” to any stakeholder request.
I used to get so frustrated building things that didn’t seem to make much sense, then getting frustrated with marketing or other parts of the business & blaming them for “acquiring the wrong users”.
We never seemed to be building the right thing & struggled to have any impact.
Product Is Not About Features
The Prod MBA radically changed how I viewed product, realising that a product is not a list of features, but the whole customer experience.
And that the key to product success was to stop worrying about things like our development speed or roadmap.
Instead, I realised - and experienced - the need to just get out there, start talking to a specific group of customers and start crafting a vision, strategy and experiments around those customers.
Uncovering Product Opportunities
I actually generated revenue on the programme, which was really exciting with a product community concept.
However, the real value for me as a Product Lead has been to craft a product strategy - and put it into action - within my company.
Using the MVO framework Henry taught us, we moved from lack of strategy & top-down decision-making to a laser-focused product strategy.
We took all these ideas from management & our team, crafted 9 MVO statements - statements of what we thought was valuable to the customer, such as “Save 20% on your flight bookings” - and validated those in the market.
From around 100 survey responses, it became clear that only 3/9 MVO statements were things our target customer actually valued.
This has meant that, rather than committing to 9 different things, we are laser-focused on 3 specific areas of value with our product.
Huge Development Savings & Far More Impact
As a result, we avoided committing hundreds of thousands of euros in development costs & likely 1-2 years of effort - something we would have done without my learnings from Prod MBA.
This strategic, customer-centric approach to product has also helped us identify a billion dollar idea to focus on (calculated from the 20m users & €50 per user spend we see another product achieving in a very similar, parallel market).
Again, we would not have identified - and definitely not pursued - this opportunity without the learnings from Prod MBA.
Going from a Feature Factory, top-down approach to a coherent, validated product strategy we are already seeing the results from in just 2 weeks was really exciting for me as a product leader.
We even have product discovery as a core company OKR now!
Richard has worked as a Head of Product or Product Lead for over 6 years, currently leading strategy & product at Flightright in Berlin.
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