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Product Design Basics
Product Design Basics
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Overview

In our agile, complex world, no matter what your role or what you're being tasked to deliver, you will likely need to incorporate more techniques from product design moving forward.

This oft ill-defined role is growing in popularity, and typically combines capabilities in technology, UX design, Business Analysis, Marketing and more. Yes, that is a lot! And a lot is expected from product designers who are being challenged to uncover customer needs, navigate business goals, understand market trends, and lead teams to design commercially viable products.  

Think about the work you're doing now — and consider your outputs as a 'product'. How can you incorporate these broad product designer skills to deliver improved customer experiences in a way that also delivers business value? This Playbook won't deliver on all your needs, but it's a strong starting point for what is a complex and broad domain. 

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A quick note before you jump in — let's face it, you're not going to remember all of these models and frameworks. So be sure to sign up for our free newsletter here to receive one summarised, powerful idea each week that you can apply immediately. 

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This Playbook includes the following sections, select a heading to jump to that section.
ANSWER THE RIGHT QUESTION
One of the key challenges for Product Designers is ensuring they are addressing problems and pain points that matter.
Design Thinking
You had to expect this one here right? Click through to explore the other models wrapped into this human-centric approach to innovation.
Framestorming
Rather than responding to the question as defined by your stakeholders / management — take a moment to question the question and ensure you're on the right track.
UNDERSTAND THE MARKET
You're not releasing your products in a vacuum, explore and analyse the competition using these approaches.
Porter's Five Forces
Rather than rely on impressions, use this classic management accounting model to analyse the competition and market forces.
Personas
Part of human-centered design approach, Personas combine well with Empathy Maps and Journey Maps to better understand your audience needs.
Value Proposition
This simple way to capture your Value Proposition is essentially a way to state your product hypothesis — the current belief you have about the problem you're solving for that is at the heart of your work.
Amazon's Working Backwards
Amazon's approach of starting with a press release and FAQ to succinctly and clearly communicate the value proposition has served them well. Consider what this might look like in your world.
Jobs To Be Done
Not convinced about Personas? Use this approach as an alternative or in combination.
4Ps of Marketing
A simple but fundamental marketing model to ensure you're thinking towards how your product will fit into the market.
PRIORITISE
Part of the art of Product Design is choosing what you don't do and where you invest your resources as a result.
Kanban
A powerful approach to work with teams often implemented as part of Agile Methodology.
Paradox of Choice
You're not just prioritising to get work done, you're simplifying the customer experience. Remember that less is often more.
RICE Score
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A popular model with Product Designers to explore priorities and choose the way forward.
Impact Effort Matrix
A simpler approach than RICE that can act as your daily guide.
MoSCoW Method
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A great way to gather requirements for a product.
BCG Growth-Share Matrix
Have a line of products or offers to consider? Then this BCG framework might be the way to analyse and prioritise them.
Kano Model
Finding the sweet spot for your product and your investment in it can be hard. This model can help.
DESIGN & ITERATE.
Start building, experimenting, and learning.
Split Testing & A/B Testing
Want to create a business case and/or have a better understanding of the impact of your work? Then Split Test.
Lean Startup
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Eric Ries' Lean Startup model provides a way forward for startups and product design alike.
Patil's Project Principles
Obama's Chief Data Scientist's project principles is a great reminder to keep delivering and iterating value.
Musk's 5 Step Design Process
Musk's approach to innovating rocket ship design can be applied more broadly.
Prototypes
You're going to have to Prototype and experiment your way forward.
Minimum Viable Product
The MVP is at the heart of most product designers work these days, and is featured in the Lean Startup.
Riskiest Assumption Test
Before you totally commit to MVP, take a moment to consider its distant cousin — the RAT.
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