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methodical - 5 D's of Product Design & Development - 1st D

First Principles are the North Stars for great product design. They help us a lot, especially when we
methodical - 5 D's of Product Design & Development - 1st D
By Akar Sumset • Issue #3 • View online
First Principles are the North Stars for great product design. They help us a lot, especially when we are lost. But the North Star alone can’t tell us how to get where we want to get. 
We need a roadmap to take us there. 5 D’s of Product Design & Development (name made up by yours truly) is that roadmap.

First Principles are Great! But...
I know I know. “Using but cancels everything precedes it.” But this time it’s different. (See what I did there. Canceled the cancel :))
The first and second issues covered the First Principles of Methodical Product Design. They are great for devising a generic approach to product design and development. However, we need something more concrete, a framework if you will, to build great products. 
5 D’s of Product Design and Development (name made up by yours truly) is a framework to design and develop great products. It covers the 5 main stages of product design and development: 

  1. Destination
  2. Discovery 
  3. Definition and Design
  4. Development
  5. Data and Optimization
(Your reaction when you saw 5 D's)
(Your reaction when you saw 5 D's)
Destination consists of three major parts: Vision, Strategy and Roadmap.

Setting the Destination starts with setting the vision for the product.
People are driven by meaning. Especially, people who has complex jobs like us. Product vision is that meaning product developers crave for. These examples are quite useful.

Product Vision Tools
George H. Heilmeier - Wikipedia
The Only Product Vision Template You'll Ever Need

Product strategy has five major components: 
  1. Users 
  2. Our Company 
  3. Competitors
  4. The Market
  5. Our Brand
By accumulating knowledge on these five components we’ll have enough dots to connect.
In the following articles you’ll find templates and step by step guides for everything from creating in house personas to conducting a business model canvas workshop.

Product Strategy Tools
UX Design for Startups: Even Lemonade Stands Need a Strategy
Brand Strategy for Startups - The How and What
UX Design for Startups: Understanding and Calculating The Market

There is a growing trend on how roadmaps shouldn’t include deadlines and features but instead should focus on themes and goals. I have to admit I’d like to work in that dreamland. However, in order to actually ship products we need deadlines. Period. Of course these should be rough deadlines for which developers were given enough time and information to come up with. But at the end of the day, we NEED deadlines. 
Otherwise it is very easy to drift into endless tweaking (both the design and the code) and thus waste time. Not having deadlines not only wastes design and development time but also causes a company wide restlessness and restrain the rest of the company from planning their own actions.
So, it is obvious we need deadlines. (It is, isn’t it?) The important thing is that product people have to make sure that the voice of customer is heard. Also, they must be certain that the final roadmap items are in line with the product vision and strategy. If we have these in place then we are ready to estimate and plan the hell out of those roadmap items.

Roadmap Tools
How to Create a Product Roadmap in 8 Steps
Aha! Roadmapping Tool
This was the 1st D of the 5 D’s of Product Design & Development framework. Together with First Principles, 5 D’s help me develop my toolbox and literally let’s me pick the tool for the job at hand.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this! 

Akar - Continuously brainstorming

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Akar Sumset

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