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Five Ws and one H for understanding the products /services better

By - Prashant Poladia | 15 Jan 2015

The Five Ws and one H technique is generally used to get deeper insights while gathering information related to any area. It works the best, especially in journalism.

Today I am trying to implement the same concept in Product Management to understand products or gather necessary information to understand the exact requirements from stakeholders before starting the development work. This helps Product Managers to get a complete understanding of the purpose behind developing a product or a service.

The role of a Product Manager is to understand “why” and “what” from all the stakeholders and deliver the same to the development team to build effective products or services.

Why are we building it?

It is very important to know and understand the intent behind developing a product or service. As Simon Sinek mentioned in his Ted Talk, that always understand “why” first and then “how” and “what” of the company that you work for. Most of the employees go wrong by not understanding the “why” of the product or solution which is offered to the end user. Once the Product Manager understands the objective behind developing a product or service, then everything else falls into place and it becomes  easy to take decisions and prioritize work  for given products and services.

What are the differentiators as compared to competitors?

You can compete by having the same set of features and functionalities with your competitor but it will not last long. Differentiators always allow your product to stay ahead of the competition and attract more customers. To retain your position in the space that your product exists, you always need to be two steps ahead of your competitors.

Who will benefit from it?

“Who are the Target customers?” is one of the vital questions to ask yourself before you start developing a product. As a Product Manager, one should always need to empathize with the target customer and look at products and services. Every persona is different. Every person’s behavior, pattern, habits, thinking, life style are different. So, the interface for each persona needs to be planned more precisely before making any decisions regarding the flow of products and services.

The following list of questions can be addressed later on:

How will we build it?

Once we nail down the features and functionalities of the product, we need to understand which technology is to be used to develop the same. Product Manager takes the help of Engineering Lead to decide upon the best possible tools to develop a product, but he prioritizes the budget for the same. If the cost of experiments is higher as compared to the cost of the impact then product manager will prioritize the features.

Which marketing channels to use?

It becomes equally important to understand how the product will be marketed so that the most important features of the product or service are addressed to the right audience, at the right time, at the right place using the right media to have a larger impact.

When to launch it?

The Product Manager needs to have proper launch plan to get the most from the product. Based on the market situation any product or service needs to be launched with utmost care. Too early to the market may not allow a product to gain popularity and at the same time too late to the market will make the product lose its charm and importance.

So, ask these questions to understand the products or services in depth and then see the magic behind how you can orchestrate the entire product life cycle.

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