TOOLKIT: TURNING BRAINSTORMS INTO REAL, FUNCTIONAL THINGS

ALT TITLE: WHY PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TRICKS OF THE TRADE APPLY TO EVERYONE /// Ideas: We all have them. Some are better than others. But without a proper toolkit, even the *best* ideas are just isolated, internal monologues.
  1. •
    Pen and paper, goddamnit.
    The physical act of *writing* your gibberish thoughts into real words is more powerful than Harvey Weinstein. [Ed note: great film industry joke] Plus, a visual presentation of how your ideas progress over time is *DJ Khaled voice* the 🔑 to success.
  2. •
    Peripheral vision.
    This is a metaphor, of course. Awareness of how your product fits in—or disrupts—the current ecosystem of your organization will not only illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of your plan in its nascent stages, but will also serve as valuable data when you're ready to recruit key stakeholders to advocate for and invest in your product.
  3. •
    A well-balanced network of people who ~get~ you AND people who are contrarian by nature.
    THOSE CONTRARIANS ARE MORE VALUABLE THAN ANYONE ELSE. They will question your purpose, challenge your course of action, and ultimately help you fix your problems before they're even problems.
  4. •
    An honest acknowledgement of what you know and what you don't.
    I taught myself basic Photoshop skills just because I wanted to make my own ~memes~ but am I an excelled graphic designer? Hell no. KNOW WHEN YOU NEED AN EXPERT AND RECRUIT THEM, DAMNIT. You'll waste your most valuable resource (time) by the false assumption that you can do it all.
  5. •
    Never-ending curiosity and a healthy dash of self doubt.
    You want to create something new, after all. And you'll learn a LOT along the way. Mostly you'll learn that some of your assumptions are wrong. Data, man. Great stuff. But if you're unable to create a digestible narrative of the data you've collected, the ultimate victim of your data-driven decision making will be your end user. DATA = DIALOGUE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR USERS; LISTEN TO THEM. Product development is forever ongoing, and recognizing that as a known fact is critical.
  6. •
    A roadmap that's ambitious but also realistic.
    Cool, you want to launch by Q2. But what does that even mean?! What sacrifices will you need to make to achieve that goal? Are you baking in sufficient time for testing and optimization? AND LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL if you aren't able to distinguish early on what features are essential for beta versus what can be released in phase two.
  7. •
    Multiple playlists that will soundtrack your work time.
    My "Jock Jams For Product Management" includes sprawling ambient drone for the ~deep thought~ times, ATL trap when I'm hyped on my own ideas and ready to workkkk + test, and psychedelic folk/raga when I have to fix the errors I found while testing. [That latter playlist I've named "Having a Panic Attack, BRB"]