Philippe Araujo

Stop thinking about what your users want, think about what you want

Philippe Araujo on

You will recognize the start of that sentence, especially if you are a developer or a product manager. It’s being used for advertising marketing to trigger your interest in a product that you don’t necessarily need.

As a user I want to 1

Now, if the product you are using is not helping you or you can’t find the value in it, then it's because of that sentence! And what’s coming next...

The agile world

“We are an agile organization. We are going to be agile. We are looking for an agile coach. We are transforming our organization to be more agile.”

In the last few years, loads of organizations have been embracing this new current without understanding what it means.

Agile is just not making sprints and writing stories... tweet this

Nowadays in technology, you have to work with this framework. And to make it work, you have to change your way you were working, committing and splitting the work you had in mind. It is a bit like the process you are putting in place is telling you to deliver your product a certain way.

Just between you and me do you really like it though? And you, product managers, do you like it?

It's pervasive

Problem is when you look at it. It's really hard from your point of view to deliver what you want from a simple story. And this simple story starts to denature your intention as a product manager.

You have a vision for your product and how you want it to evolve. You want to build this vision and not all the little parts of it. When you write those stories and break it down into little digestible pieces for the dev team, you lose the essence of your vision.

As a user I want to 2

Each story needs to be not big and not too small. It has to encapsulate the feature you want to build, the user you want to build it for and the business value of it. If the story is too big, you have to split it in smaller stories.

The first challenge coming from it is how can you look and analyze a story without losing sight at the final goal.

On another hand, how can you link those little stories to the bigger vision and make it understandable by the delivery team?

The challenge comes from the sentence in itself.

As a product manager, I want to

"As a user": first part of the sentence, there is no such thing as a user, a user can be anyone. It can be a man or a girl, it can be young or old, it can have a different job from the other ones, it can use his phone instead of his computer.

All those little differences may be subtle but it changes totally the user experience.

"I want to be able to": You don't want him to want anything. You want him to do what you want. When you are building a product, you want to trigger certain behaviour. You target a behaviour.

Let me stop you there a second. If you don't target a certain behaviour and you don't expect him to have a certain result, to reach a personal/business goal.
Just stop right now, you don't know what you are doing… the product you are building will be useless and you will not know why.

This sentence is rigged from the beginning and you should change it.

Make it your own

The first step, think about your personas and the way you want them to behave.
Second, think about the customers of your personas because if they are using your app it's because they want to accomplish something for someone.

The double infinite loop

Basically in one sentence, by using your product your main user/persona will deliver value for him and his primary customer. From there, you will build upon this behaviour and it will exponentially bring value to your user.

Get the goal of your user

You have to get that nobody is doing it for pleasure. Intrinsically we do things for something or someone. This is where your emotional intelligence will be your best friend. You have to understand your users/customers more than anyone.

The difference between a good product manager and the bad one is his level of emotional intelligence.tweet this

As a product manager, you have to set up the scene and make your team understand what you trying to build and what you are trying to reach. They have to see themselves part of the equation and find the meaning of their job.

Everyone has a goal in life and at work. Put your emotional intelligence at work!

Write your stories with those principles in mind

Now that you know the goal of your user and you know your user, your story will look different and your epic too. Also for your development team, they will not run blind and have in mind what is the ultimate goal.

Again I am going off the track here and talking about leadership and management. There is nothing worse for your team than developing in complete darkness.

Knowing the big picture is as important for them as it is for your management. (maybe it should be a blog post on his own +1 on that if you want...)

So how are your stories going to look like? [As a product manager, I want] the social media marketer" to generate a report of the selected social media for his clients.

Seeking the boom effect

My goal as a product manager is to reach the boom effect, always. A bit like the mic drop of President Obama in his last speech at the correspondent dinner conference.

As a user I want to 3

I enjoy looking at people face when I am presenting a new feature or when they discover it and witness how much they appreciate it.

You have to look for it too. You have to have a goal that his personal. You need to enjoy what you are doing.

Have fun to build your product and if you don't like the rules just change them. There are no bad rules, there is just a bad interpretation of them.

Do you always put your users first? Are they the one deciding what your product is going to do next?
Tell me what you think to join me directly on Twitter at @philnpa

Philippe Araujo London
Phil is one of the co-founder of ReponseIO and works on building the best product ever. Living in London, he enjoys drinking whisky & coffee, discover new places, good food and hit the gym.