Tuesday 1 February 2022

Product Launch from 0 to 1 using Project management

the article shares the author's recent project summary, which sorts out some details and knowledge points on the work, hoping to bring you some inspiration.

it was late at night, and only the lamp in the room was glowing yellow, and the input cursor in the notebook was flashing.

at work, the project has been tested internally, and it is time to go online, this is the second project (product) that i have been responsible for in the company, the product planned and designed by myself, is now going online, although the future operation is also a difficult road, but there is no little joy in the heart to go online.

carefully recall, the whole process still has a lot of need to think and improve the place, to sum up, but also to sort out the details of the knowledge points.

the beginning of everything

At the end of May this year, the boss called the partners and I, who was the head of the product department (well, I was the only one in the product department) for a short meeting on the issue of the company's new project, a purely online ToC product. The company is a self-media company with its own traffic resources, so as long as the business of the product is clear, the resources are in hand, and the experience is good enough, there is basically no need to worry about the number of users in the period after going online. At that time, the boss and partners were quite energetic, and they were full of expectations for the realization brought about by the project after it was launched. But I also have some concerns, because the vertical segment of the market that the boss proposed to enter at that time has been developing for a long time, and the development situation of the market in recent years is not particularly optimistic. When I put forward my opinion to everyone, everyone was quiet for a while, and then the boss said that my concerns were also reasonable, but the company currently has traffic and related cooperation resources, and the cost of the development project is not high, and in general, the project is still cost-effective.

from the perspective of the head of the business and the company, this is reasonable, and if a company wants to survive, it needs the ability to make a profit in the business, which is the primary condition. in the short term, combined with the company's own resource analysis can bring profits, i also understand this, they also have their considerations, so they have not expressed too many opinions.

later, i seriously thought about it, now pure online projects have been difficult to have a market, in recent years, the needs of users have been basically excavated, there are already mature products to meet the needs of users, and user habits have slowly developed. therefore, the cost of online traffic has been soaring in recent years, and because of this, many companies have also begun to slowly shift their product traffic entrance to offline, and also began to combine with offline business to form a closed loop between online and offline. and o2o belongs to this category, but because everyone has consumed this industry before, speaking of o2o will subconsciously think of burning money, but from the direction point of view, online and offline want to combine is very in line with the market development prospects.

in the next few years, the focus of the internet will shift from products to business, from simple online to the combination of online and offline, and then there is still room for imagination with the addition of ai.

it's a bit far away, so come back.

market research, or do a good job

This ToC project is located in a small market segment, and it is not in the mainstream scope, although it has been developed for a long time. Therefore, there is too little relevant information on the Internet, and of course there is no market research data to study and reference. At first, I looked for relevant industry analysis reports from more authoritative research websites such as Analysys Think Tank and iResearch, but the results were obvious. Then you can only search for information about the relevant industry market from the most convenient Baidu and Google, and the search results are not much. The information searched is also uneven, and the searched articles also have a certain age.

successively collected relevant information, and then flipped over the baidu index, found the general trend of related industries, and investigated and analyzed the situation of major players in the market, and finally conducted a market questionnaire survey, and came up with a slightly satisfactory analysis result. although the capacity of the market is small and the development space is not large, the user is interested in the industry, and the company has relevant traffic and resources, combined with swot's analysis can still enter the market.

now it seems that in fact, when doing market research at that time, i did not do too in-depth analysis, of course, there are also the limitations of external factors such as time. although the conclusion of market research only plays an auxiliary role, it can reduce a lot of trouble for the subsequent development, or it is necessary to do a good job. for the industry, the market is small, there is no relevant authoritative information to check, in fact, it is equivalent to studying an emerging industry, to investigate an unfamiliar industry, in the final analysis, it is from four aspects.

the first is to trace the source as much as possible, understand the reasons for the industry, the key links of the service chain; then it is to learn and study the evolution process of the industry giants, the development of the giants often includes social, political, economic, technological, management, strategy and other multiple reasons, their evolution can better reflect the changes in the market; then is to analyze the main business models and business patterns in the industry; and finally, to use as many different products as possible, we must have our own summary and understanding, so that the upstream and downstream of the market are thoroughly understood. of course, in reality, there is not so much time for you to study and engage in the market, so the product manager's usual accumulation of the industry and the exercise of market sensitivity are particularly important.

competitive analysis is necessary

i remember that at that time, i also consciously made a targeted competitive analysis, and it was also in line with expectations in hindsight.

the competitor analysis report is a direct output of the competitor analysis. we usually see most of the analysis reports on the internet is actually unqualified, because many competitor analysis reports, in fact, can only be regarded as product experience reports, the basic module is "objective third-party data content + pure display of competitors 5 dimensions", such a report of thousands of words, half an hour to see down, do not know what its purpose is to do.

the real competitive product analysis report is to narrow the scope of targeted analysis according to the challenges/difficulties faced by the product or development needs at a certain stage, and to prescribe the right medicine. for example, if a product is in the conceptual stage of the product (my situation at that time), then the competitive product analysis at this time is mainly for the market (user demand, market capacity, status quo), business model and other dimensions for in-depth analysis, as for the rest of the product architecture, function, process, interaction, operation and other dimensions, can not be considered for the time being. this not only reduces the workload, but also allows for purposeful and targeted analysis.

when doing competitive product analysis, in fact, many product managers have forgotten that they need to combine the company's own situation to explore their own unique competitiveness, rather than finally doing "reference" content, otherwise the products made are homogeneous.

user research! significant!

in the process of product development, because the time is too tight, there is no time to do this part of the content. this is also a common problem for small teams to pursue short and fast.

however, if there is a condition to do it, the process should probably do so. before doing so, let's review the role of user research:

through the study of the user's task operation characteristics, perceptual characteristics, and cognitive psychological characteristics, the actual needs of users become the orientation of product design, so that the products are more in line with the user's habits, experiences and expectations.

when doing user research, follow these steps.

the first point is that it needs to be clear about the purpose of doing this. therefore, before conducting user research, it is necessary to clarify the purpose of user research. only by clarifying the purpose of the survey can we effectively point out the direction of user research.

the second point is to identify the users who are conducting the survey, that is, to find the target users. so how do you find the target user? it is necessary to use the "user portrait" of the product, and the complete user portrait process can be divided into four steps. the first step is user information collection, the second step is user information analysis, the third step is user information verification, and the fourth step is user portrait optimization.

the third point determines the method of research, and individuals will choose the most common and efficient user interviews. what needs to be done is to prepare the question, while analyzing the user, giving possible answers and digging into the deep questions behind the answers.
all that's left is research and a time to test product managers. then write a research report and guide the next step based on the report's conclusions.

user research is not only helpful for companies to design products, but also beneficial to users of products, which is mutually beneficial to both. therefore, when conditions permit, user research is still necessary.

product planning and design

this part, now that i think about it, due to the lack of timely communication with the technical staff, the developers did not pay attention to the content of the details part, which is still relatively lossy. however, this will also be a clear reflection in the future.

the core idea of product planning and design, these two parts, is the user experience element (strategy layer, scope layer, structure layer, framework layer and presentation layer).

product planning (strategic layer)

after completing the analysis of the main competitors, my thinking is much clearer. it is of great help for the next product planning. the content of product planning, the core content is nothing more than these:

  • determine the strategic direction of the product
  • determine product positioning and market positioning
  • identify the target users
  • determine usage scenarios for your product
  • identify the business model
  • version iteration planning
  • the entire product planning stage is basically centered around these cores.

at that time, when formulating product planning, the above steps were also followed, but these contents and directions were determined by a lot of work in the front.

functional requirements (scope layer)

complete the planning of the product, you have entered the design stage of the product, at this stage, the most difficult step should be how to convert the requirements into functions, as long as the problem is solved, the work behind will be easy to say. so how do you translate user needs into product needs? at this time, the "two-eight principle" began to play. that is to say, only the needs of general users can be converted into product needs, and then functional modules can be developed to solve the pain points of users' needs. this process requires the strength of the combined team and the urgency of the requirements, and the direct output of this is the list of functional requirements.

before proceeding to the next step, we also need to complete the business process diagram and the functional logic flowchart, which can make the prototype diagram drawn more logical.

prototype diagrams (structural and frame layers)

the prototype diagram, in fact, is the product manager to transform his abstract ideas into a figurative output, which is the most direct display of the product manager's ideas. and it's all about doing all the work above. now my own approach to this piece is to combine the prototype and interaction directly on the prototype diagram, and finally generate a high-fidelity prototype diagram for the design developer to experience, and add comments on the necessary pages, so that the design developer can understand the whole process most intuitively.

in fact, from the current point of view, this high-fidelity demo form has a disadvantage, that is, it is difficult for developers to have a global view of page jumps in the project. this leads to the logical time and cost of developing the task. later, after observing various prototype diagram display forms, i found that the page wire frame can solve this problem very well. however, when i realized that the project was already at the end of the development, i would add the wire frame to the next project.


For product requirements documents, there are some cases of documents written using word circulating on the Internet, all of which are nearly 20,000 words (the number of words in my graduation thesis)... This paper-level PRD is really not my style, and I think it is very difficult for developers to watch it...

in this project, the role of the prd is not so big, just the role of the record, because the developers are basically developing around the prototype diagram, and i have made detailed notes on the prototype diagram, which can meet their needs very well. so later, some product requirements on the modification, coupled with the prd content module is not perfect enough, it is simply not updated.

in fact, later you will find that because the flow of personnel and handover need to use prd, if prd does not follow up the update, then it will be busy with the product manager, think about it is tired.

So I used product thinking in disguise, reorganized the structure of my PRD, optimized the experience of PRD in use, and used Axure RP to write, which can meet most of the needs of PRD for the forward team. Its structure is as follows:

And I also wrote an article about using Axure RP to write a PRD before - Axure Pro 8 to make product requirements documentation, you can take a look at it if you are interested.

project management

in fact, before i became a product manager, i was a project manager, so this part of the work was handled relatively well. in this project, some optimizations have been made for the previous processing method, and the effect is not bad.

before a project can actually enter the development cycle, it requires the project manager (product manager) to prioritize the development of the feature, then develop a detailed development schedule and set milestones. at that time, it was in the form of a combination of tables and gantt charts, with a weekly milestone, that is, a weekly plan, and a morning meeting was organized every morning, and the basic content was to report on the completion of the previous day's work and the current task schedule. then the product manager summarizes and supervises the progress. and the final progress report is also reported directly by me to the boss.

through this management method, it can bring a sense of control of the project, and the daily morning meeting can clearly grasp the direction of the progress and not fall behind. in the end, the project was also launched as scheduled, which also gave the team and gave themselves an encouragement.

in fact, from the current point of view, the way of thinking is correct. however, if the project is larger, the project management ability of the product manager is very demanding. of course, large projects are generally managed by a project manager. in general, the fundamental purpose of project management is to ensure that the product can be launched on schedule through various means.


in the whole process of project planning and follow-up, there were various problems at that time, but through everyone's efforts, they had to be solved. if they are all recorded, it is presumably not something that can be solved by the length of an article. as a person in charge of a product, there must be empathy in demand, market research and analysis must have market ability, product ability and logical thinking ability, development stage must have project management ability and communication ability, and product launch in the future must have operational ability and data analysis ability...

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