Achieving Product Success by Cayan Director of Product Engineering

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A product, especially a digital product never has a linear path. It has various facets to it. Some of the major facets are the requirement piece, the design piece and the architecture piece. The product owner is not supposed to know everything about the product, but they are definitely expected to know enough about it, so as to lead the respective teams of every facet in the right direction.

In this talk, Tcheilly narrates the three focus areas for the product owners to adhere to for their product’s success, and the criticality of a good requirements document in playing a key role towards the success of their product.

A Marketing Leader with a Product Soul

Tcheilly Nunes is currently Head of Marketing, Americas for Vaisala. He used to be Director of Product Management, running the Unified Commerce product line at Cayan LLC, a technology company focused on transformative innovations in payments. He specialises in assisting companies in extending their brand to new markets through the development and implementation of effective online and offline lead generation campaigns.

Tcheilly has also led several eCommerce and mobile product launches for companies such as TJX Inc., Biogen Idec., Dunkin Brands, Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins.

dunkin donuts shop in an asian country

What Product Success May Look Like

Tcheilly begins by asking that how a product owner would know if what they are communicating about the product is conveyed as intended to the stakeholders. He presses that there should be three aspects of focus in a product life cycle.

Product Dictionary

A Product Dictionary is something through which a product manager learns how to apply some of the key product management concepts into building a roadmap that ‘speaks’ to any stakeholder of their project.

There are many stakeholders when it comes to a digital product, such as the marketing and communications team, the sales team, the finance team, the legal team, the professional services team, the engineering team and the executive sponsor. They all belong to different domains and speak different ‘languages’. Hence, it is a challenge to ‘speak’ to them about your product and put the right message and the agenda across.

dictionary page open on the word "collaboration"

Tcheilly suggests to first approach the marketing and communications team and the sales team to overcome this hurdle. The reason he explains is that these teams are the ones which interact with the customers and the end users, and have a first hand idea about their pain points and problems. They would be in a better position to provide insights into the product and the target market.

The next scenario that Tcheilly brings up is when a product has to be scaled to a new market. He suggests to communicate with the legal team first, as they are the ones who would be aware of the policies and the local laws related to the category of that product. Before scaling, a product owner should ensure through their legal team that the product is not breaching any norms or compliance rules of the target market.

wireframe of a 3D elephant

Product Requirements Document

Product requirements document is crucial to map every facet of the digital product. It should clearly have a roadmap of the key requirements, such as the technical requirements, the digital requirements and the design requirements. A poorly sketched product requirements document may end up costing a lot more than necessary in building the product.

Tcheilly then talks about the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and explains that it’s the version of a workable product that meets and satisfies all the basic needs of the consumer.

person cleaning a car door

Backlog Trimming

The product owner should learn how to create a ‘shared’ backlog where all stakeholders involved own the final product-shared ‘theme-based’ roadmap.

Tcheilly further explains the concept of a Product Requirements Tree. In the diagram, the foundation represents the infrastructure, or the architecture of the whole product, on which everything else of the tree is dependent. The roots of the tree represent the core and current features of the product, and the branches represent the new features that are added later on.

product requirements tree

Upon the completion of the product, the product owner needs to consult all the different teams, a.k.a., the engineering team, the design team, the sales team, etc., to get their feedback as to how the product should be improved and what new features can be added according to them, and also according to the consumer. There can be many iterations in this phase, which are further represented by the new branches over the older branches.

As a key contributor to product strategy activities, Tcheilly Nunes focuses on the consumer, and hence guides the product owners towards the right roadmap to follow in order to help their products succeed in the consumer market.

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