Design Principles for Product Leaders

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This is a booklet that I wrote to convey key design principles for a product leadership audience. If you're interested in the full thing, reach out to me on LinkedIn and I'll send you a PDF. Here's a quick intro and overview of what I cover in the full booklet:

In today’s crowded and competitive landscape, companies are held to an increasingly high standard for new products. Customers have more options than ever before and, as a result, it is becoming more difficult for companies to stand out. 

Product leaders are challenged to not only release and iterate products quickly, but to also do so in a way that meets the needs of the customer, is viable for the business, does not create liability for the company or its customers, optimizes for positive outcomes, and protects against negative outcomes.

In pursuit of speed, product teams often fail to meet these goals. Products are rushed to market before the team develops a strategy based on real needs or before the solution is validated with potential customers. When put under time pressure to deliver, teams may fail to properly consider potential security concerns, privacy issues, or societal effects.

This is the opposite of efficiency. Thousands of engineering hours can be saved by testing product concepts early. Millions of dollars in legal liability and brand damage can be avoided by proactively identifying and protecting against abuses of the product. The principles detailed below are designed to help product leaders create value in ways that generate and optimize positive outcomes for customers, the business, and the world around them.

CUSTOMER RESEARCH

Start with customer insight.

Creating a successful product requires a clear and confident vision aligned with the needs of the customer. Organizations must develop a deep understanding of their customers to gain this level of confidence.

COLLABORATION

Leverage diverse perspectives.

The expertise of product leaders, designers, and developers is necessary to create successful products at scale within an organization but is not enough on its own. The best products are created through collaboration with a diversity of role types and perspectives.

VALIDATION

Learn before launching.

Engineering resources are expensive, and constantly in demand within an organization. It’s in an organization’s best interest to spend those resources on building concepts that are already validated with customers, rather than crossing their fingers or waiting to test with customers until after the product/feature is built.

SECURITY & PRIVACY

Protect customers and the brand.

Privacy and security are now considerations in a customer’s buying criteria and can either be a liability or an advantage to a company. They are now critical factors for every part of the business, not least of which is the product team.

ETHICAL DESIGN

Create a better future.

Through technology, companies have more power to influence the world than ever before. Society is becoming more acutely aware of this and will increasingly expect companies to take responsibility for their broader impact.

If you're interested in the full thing, reach out to me on LinkedIn and I'll send you a PDF.

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