Strategic Feature Launch with Ryan Salomon of Pendo

On Jan 25, I attended an Invision Webinar that hosted Ryan Salomon (Senior Director, Product Management at Pendo), entitled How to execute a strategic feature launch - from development to adoption.

Having the session linked up with Invision’s Freehand platform, it was nice to be able to navigate around the visuals independently throughout the course of the talk.

Ryan stressed the importance of aligning the product vision with the company vision, at all times. By identifying a north star metric, or core value that the product delivers to the client, teams can remain on the right track to a common goal.

Using a PRD (product requirements doc) is a great way to pin down, lay out and share with teams what that north star metric will be.

However, getting to that north star metric (aka the design process) is messy, and that’s ok. In many ways it should be. What’s crucial is knowing when to open up the conversation to ideation and when to narrow in on resolution. And in addition, this expansion and contraction should be iterative.

A key concept that can illustrate this is the double diamond approach to design and project management.

The double diamond approach.

This visual helps teams advance towards their north star metric by plotting out the famous 4 D’s:

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Develop
  • Deliver

When presented with a problem, a team should brainstorm and give insight into the problem, then follow it by definition and focus (expand out, then narrow in). Next, potential solutions are explored and tested, in order to deliver the best solutions that actually work (expand out, then narrow in). And so on…

Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Although each type of data is typically gathered differently, they’re both equally important to inform each step of a product’s journey. Analytics can show us things like an app’s stickiness (quantitative), whereas qualitative data must be gathered from user stories and consultations with subject matter experts. Both types of data should support each other, and both should backup decisions made towards the north star.

Project Manager Framework

Ryan speaks from a PM perspective, stressing the importance of seeing things through many different lenses and hearing from many different team members, as often as possible. Benefiting from diverse opinions while maintaining a path to the product goal.

As a PM, Ryan prefers the RICE framework or scoring model to help keep the product on the rails.

The RICE framework for product management

Shipping ideas, proposals, products

What’s most important? Preparation. When it’s time to ship a deliverable, or have a progress meeting with an exec, have all your ducks in a row well in advance. Anticipate their questions and set yourself up with answers. Executives want the hard truth, like exactly how long this will take. Show that you’re already being efficient by breaking down the to-dos, realistically.

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