The 4 sacrifices of a GO(o)D product manager
If I just wanted to complain, I'd have already written such a post about some of the products that I use on a daily basis that their developers and marketers would be seething. The grass wouldn't grow in this place for a year and any normal person would be afraid to hire me. Seriously, some UX is so insane that you would rip screenshots into memes. Some products look so fucked up that their release gives off a vile stench strong enough to fuel a trip to the moon for half of humanity. I am not exaggerating. I am actually really glad that some of that rubbish has never even been officially launched.

But instead of complaining, I would like to help myself and people around me. If at least one person - be it my past, present or future client, employee, colleague, partner or anyone else - takes this advices and creates a good product instead of converting time and money into air, then our world will already become a slightly better place.
Why nobody needs your product?
Every month I get 2-3 requests from random wannabe developers of another ultimate Facebook-killer app to have a look at their amazing centillion dollar idea. Guess you know how this goes right? They sketched something on a paper towel, showed it to their grandma who said ‚well that's just swell sweetheart'. Now there's just one little thing left before he can conquer the world with his undoubtedly brilliant idea. Because Super Brain has already done the most difficult part which is to convince himself that he is the next digital messiah and all that is left to do is just to code the app. JUST. CODE. THE APP.
Every time I have a conversation like that, I only need to ask only one question to kill your product idea in 1 second:
- Did you google it?
And I know the answer in advance. Maybe it is basic fear of discovering that the project of your life is already running somewhere else, or just blind self-confidence but 90% of these guys never do any basic research before they decide to waste someone else's time. Instead of doing their homework, they prefer to jump straight into the shark tank of business only to get out absolutely broke and devastated 3 years later.

This is not how you do it. We live in an overpopulated world. Also, think how many people lived on this planet long before you enlightened us with your presence. It is highly likely that someone has already identified a similar problem, came up with a solution and even implemented it. Creation of a new product is a lengthy and resource-hungry process. During this process your primary goal is to identify a sustainable and replicable business model by answering at least 3 important questions:
What is the problem that needs to be solved?
What is the solution?
Would anyone pay for this solution?
And you would be surprised how many wannabe entrepreneurs do not have answers to at least one of these very important questions. Instead, they jump straight into R&D with them asking their own selves whether what they are doing makes sense or not as their only market research. And usually it does not at all.
It's time to admit that we live in a world where your idea alone is not worth anything. The only thing that matters is its implementation. And it's gonna be a hell of a ride before you end up with something that someone other than your closest friends and family would be willing to buy. Only throughout the implementation phase will you obtain the necessary knowledge and discover whether your idea is viable or not.

If your idea is so great, then make it happen! Make it real! Make it conquer the world! Nobody wants to buy your product? You can't find developers that would be interested to work for you for free for a while? This may mean:
  • You had an idea that was dead long before its birth
  • Maybe the idea was good but you have implemented it in the worst possible way
  • Or you had a great product but screwed everything else up along the way
These things should be as clear as the water in Seealpsee and yet people believe in miracles. Someone has to take responsibility and usually it's YOU. If something isn't working out the way it should - it is your fault. Ideas are like sperm cells. One in a million will reach its goal, and even in that case no one can guarantee that it will bear a genius. It's up to you how you are going to raise a winner, and most likely you'll have to sweat it out.
Introducing the OMIT approach
Having spent many hours in conversations with early-stage entrepreneurial teams I have discovered that unsuccessful product launches do not always result from taking the wrong product development methodology. Very often, the root cause of failure is hidden within psychological complexes of the founding members. More often than not, it is the inflated ego of their CEOs who believe that they do not need any advice on how to build the product.

This is why I introduced a new category of problems that need to be solved by teams that are aiming to create successful products. While traditional product development approaches focus on balancing the two most valuable resources - TIME and MONEY - they neglect psychological factors that prevent teams from managing these resources wisely.
By analysing the behaviours of several founding teams, I have discovered these 2 most valuable resources - or from now sacrifices - are wasted too early in the process and the reason for that is the lack of psychological preparation. This is why I have developed a simple approach that looks at the process of product development from both psychological and methodological points of view. This approach is called OMIT.

OMIT stands for ORDER, MONEY, IDEAS and TIME. These are the 4 sacrifices that everyone who is launching a new product has to make. The only question is when and how this is going to happen. A typical product development process consists of 4 stages:
The OMIT approach implies that a successful product cannot be launched before the core mindset has been built and accepted. Therefore, I suggest that 2 psychological sacrifices - IDEAS and ORDER - must happen in the early stages of every new product development to prevent the mindless waste of the most scarce resources every startup has - TIME and MONEY. W will look into more detail why these sacrifices are important and how to make them in the next parts.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

© Wild Ma-Gässli
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