How to Focus on the Purpose of Your Product [Template]

How do you focus on the purpose of building a product? Is there any successful formula or a method that can help you clearly define your goal and success criteria? In this article, you’ll learn about the One-Pager Template that will help you focus on the purpose of your product and understand how to build a successful one.

Focus on Purpose by Using a One-Pager Template

Using a one-pager template as shown in the image above will help you focus on the purpose. The advantage of using this template consistently is that it trains your brain to think critically and ask the right questions.

Here’s how to use each of these elements to build a successful product:

1. Goal

It is important to note that your goal is not your success criteria; it is not the feature you’re building. It is about what is best for the benefit of the customer and the business. For example, consider a sample goal as getting people from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

2. Success Criteria

You need to understand what is the metric you’re going to use to measure success and what is the target of your goal. It is important to set SMART success criteria (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely). Also, your success criteria doesn’t have to be only about the revenue or the conversion. In the example of getting people from Brooklyn to Manhattan, the success criteria could be to get 100 people a month to cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

3. Background

Ask yourself if there is any relevant background information to build your product or any known issues that you need to be aware of. However, don’t let this knowledge derail/distract you from your goal. In the above example, the background information could be that people are currently using a boat to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Using this information, one can build a bridge to exponentially increase the number.

4. Critical Requirements

Identify what are the keys and must-haves for your product. Also, think about what needs to be included in your product in order to differentiate your solution from your competitor’s one. In the above example, a critical requirement for building a bridge is ensuring that it is sturdy.

Out of Scope: While considering the critical requirements, it is equally important to discard what is not critically important. Hence putting a red carpet in the bridge for the VIPs is not a critical requirement.

5. Competitive Landscape

Look at the competition and see what makes a company great and what makes another company not so great. So a glass bridge wouldn’t be too safe and choosing a metal one would be a better idea.

6. Timeline

Don’t have a rigid timeline but ensure you do define one so that it will help you start a conversation with the cross-functional teams and get started with the product.

What Happens When You Don’t Follow It?

Andrea Chesleigh, VI describes a case study where she didn’t follow the one-pager template and describes the consequences that came after.

  • Case Study: Zappos VIP
  • Goal: Reward more customers, get more direct visits.
  • Success Criteria: ?
  • Background: People would search for Zappos in Google and click on the paid ad.
  • Critical Requirements: ?
  • Out of Scope: ?
  • Competitive Landscape: ?
  • Timeline: Ongoing.

As you can see, most of the elements weren’t defined and eventually Zappos built a lot of features for the VIP customer. However, two months later, they realized that everybody was a VIP customer and they weren’t of much value. Also, after some research, they realised that the VIP customers cared only about two perks: Customer Service & Next-Day delivery. Since only a small number of people were valuable as VIP customers and they were only interested in two perks, the program had to be eventually decommissioned.

Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on your goal. Always go back to the goal and what problem you’re solving.
  2. Focus on the customer and what success looks like BEFORE building your product.
  3. Focus on the data. Validate your solution. Test your hypothesis. Talk to real customers.
  4. Iterate. A lot. Don’t be afraid to course correct as you learn.
Watch Andrea Chesleigh’s full talk titled “How to Focus on the Purpose”.
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