At 7 years old, Anna was brought into a room with a doctor to discuss for the first time the cancer she’d already had for many years. But to Anna, his conclusions seemed incongruous with the data laid out before her. Quickly, her fresh perspective had spotted a — possibly fatal — flaw in her medical team’s strategy.
The GRIDS framework will help you create roadmaps that succinctly communicate business impact at a glance, ensure alignment, and provide actionable direction for fast-moving teams.
A list of educational resources curated over the last 10 years of my career in product. I’ve put authors and resources worth following in parentheses where applicable.
Use or delete sections as needed! You can find the Google Doc version of this template here. There’s also a “lite” version here.
To invent solutions where there are none, and then identify the right way forward, product people must switch between divergent and convergent thinking regularly, flexing these perceptions like a muscle. Generate as many ideas as you can, refine. Generate, refine. Repeat. I call this exercise “Product Thinking.”
Innovation is very straightforward. You take a solution that you know works in one place, and you apply it to a similar problem in a different space. Invention is a different mechanic for problem solving. Invention is needed when problems are totally unsolved. You start structuring experiments to chip away at the unknown. And if “chipping away at the unknown” is how you’d describe your backlog, then you might be inventing a solution. Try looking for an innovative solution first. Then fewer experiments and feedback loops are needed to succeed.
Product Managers sell futures in never-before-seen, intangible things. To earn buy-in, you need to help people visualize what this is and get excited about it. If you’re asking people to give you resources to build it, they need to feel the painful void of not having this yet and to itch for it to exist.
What are the elemental, atomic truths that hold true in all cases? These are the things worth knowing, worth writing about and passing on to others. That’s the basis for this blog. I haven’t got it all figured out, but I hope that as I write, others may find this exercise interesting and join in on my hunt for product first principles.