Product Manager Day 92: The Internal Struggle

We’re a small team – basically Product Manager, 2 Devs, half a business stakeholder (since he has other agendas he needs to pursue he can’t help me 100%) and shared QA. No designer/ux, no business analysts.

On one hand I enjoy the freedom to flex various muscles, but today was one of those times I felt a little uncomfortable with it.

Some improvements we’re trying to launch will basically be going out without much real user testing. Sure, we went through a lengthy deliberation and discussions with the stakeholders (both customers and users). The concepts and even early specs are aligned with all parties, but that’s not a good indication of success – think the first touch-enabled devices versus the iPhone.

In essence, the actual spec is a set of guesses. I dare not say educated ones, because although logically sound, logic and the early buy-in is all the backing I have. Mockups have not been tested, there’s limited data to reference (or maybe no time to dig through), yet we’re almost at the building stage already. And I’m not sure if it makes sense to hold a sprint on staging while people test it.

Maybe this is normal in Agile, but it’s not comfortable. Something will give somewhere, and the fear is wasted effort by all parties in building something that ultimately doesn’t solve the business problem. But that is also the point of building quickly and testing I guess. At least you only “waste” a sprint, and get valuable insight in the process.

Or maybe there is a way I can be more effective?

I jumped from Product Marketing to Product Management at Zalora recently. These posts represent a journal of my learnings and reflections. Feel free to connect on Twitter @wasabigeek.

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