Start your product development process with a press release


That’s the way Amazon does it. They used this method to develop the highly successful Echo.

There a great answer on Quora to the question What is Amazon’s approach to product development and product management?

There is an approach called “working backwards” that is widely used at Amazon. We try to work backwards from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it. While working backwards can be applied to any specific product decision, using this approach is especially important when developing new products or features.

For new initiatives a product manager typically starts by writing an internal press release announcing the finished product. The target audience for the press release is the new/updated product’s customers, which can be retail customers or internal users of a tool or technology. Internal press releases are centered around the customer problem, how current solutions (internal or external) fail, and how the new product will blow away existing solutions.

For more about what should go into a press release see my post What? Who? Why? How? When? Where?
Here’s the key point of this approach to product development at Amazon:
If the benefits listed don’t sound very interesting or exciting to customers, then perhaps they’re not (and shouldn’t be built). Instead, the product manager should keep iterating on the press release until they’ve come up with benefits that actually sound like benefits. Iterating on a press release is a lot less expensive than iterating on the product itself (and quicker!).
Finally here’s one great comment on the Quora post:
I read once, that Amazon uses a Two-Pizza team rule.

Meaning if a project team can eat more than 2 pizza’s it’s too large. They break up a project or complex issue into smaller focus projects. This way solving issues or completing projects more quickly and easier and smaller teams have less communication lines. With other words a less complex governance is required.

I think scaling of projects and time-to-market are here the real advantages of this two-pizza team rule.

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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