Transcript from the "Planning Exercise" Lesson
>> Okay, so planning exercise. You are the product manager of a direct consumer e-bike company, something like VanMoof, Cowboy or Veloretti, they're fancy, like Tesla of e-bikes. And if you're at VanMoof, you are lucky if you're still employed. They just declared bankruptcy since I wrote this. So people use your bikes for exercising, commuting, joy-riding, racing.
[00:00:30] Some of them use it for multiple reasons so they can have different personas on the same bike. So you can imagine someone's like, I like to go to the velodrome and race on the weekends, but I also use this to commute to work. I don't know why have the velodrome on an e-bike, a chair could do it.
[00:00:44] You don't have an exact idea of who's doing what. So you have to use your judgment on which one is most important. You have a user base of 500,000 users who own one of your bicycles. You have available to work on your project eight, engineers. And you are planning for the next quarter, and here are the projects that you and your team have come up with.
[00:01:04] Right now, your company's growth is on all up growth, and specifically the commuters demographic is the one that you've identified for most growth. Here are your unprioritized tasks here. Make your bikes inherently integrate with Strava, which we talked about as a biking exercise kind of app. Redesign the on-boarding flow to help people understand their bikes better, a common customer complaint.
[00:01:31] A special racing mode that tracks laps better on circular tracks. Implement dark mode for users commuting home in the dark. Add child mode that locks the screen until a user unlocks it to prevent kids from messing with it. This caused an accident last month and it made the news, so it's a bad news cycle for you.
[00:01:50] Implement caching for improved website loads. We are unsure of how much this will actually affect web performance. Open source a library on your team wrote for making API requests and automatically caching them. Create an open API for users to be able to write their own integrations with their e-bikes.
[00:02:07] Fix a weird time zone bug that only affects users in Arizona where it displays incorrect time for one day a year.
>> If you know anything about time zones in Arizona, that's a real thing. And using retargeting information you get from ad vendors to show potential customers who land on your homepage the exact model that they saw on Instagram.
[00:02:27] So I want you to create a prioritized roadmap for the next quarter. Add your cut line. Where the information is unclear, like how many racers there are versus commuters, use a product sense to what you to intuit what you think it actually would be in the real world.
[00:02:41] And do some research on general demographics if you need to, cool. So, I'm not gonna write these down too much for you, but I'll tell you the bets I would make here. So I intentionally set up some of these problems so that some of these are gonna seem roughly of equal value to you.
[00:03:04] And I wanted you to kinda struggle a little bit with, what do I really think is gonna be a more effective solution here? I wanted you to make some bets with yourself in your head. So it's actually useful for you to kind of like, okay, I have this, I have this, and I think they're roughly the same prioritization.
[00:03:23] Maybe you looked at the RISE method to see if this one might be a little bit more impactful than that one. But even then you were kind of in your head making some bet as like, this is high impact and this kind of demographic. You're just assigning numbers to what your bets are, right?
[00:03:38] So let me tell you where I got with this. This retargeting one down here for people seeing the same bike, I would say that's probably a pretty good one for growth, right? So I'm gonna rank that one pretty high. Let's see what else here. Dark mode for commuters,d seems like that would be a good one and bad news cycles, where's that one?
>> Right below.
>> Yeah, that's gonna be really bad for growth. Because if people are saying, like, hey, this kills kids or something like that, right, you really don't wanna be in those ones. So that was gonna be probably number one, number two, or something like that, and, Yeah, redesign the onboarding flow if that's a customer complaint, right, cuz you want to have some stickiness to your platform menu.
[00:04:25] The more they can engage with the bike properly, the more likely they are gonna stick to it. Onboarding ends up being way more important than people ever think it's going to be. So those ones that kind of identified that were all up growth and the commuters, and then yeah, just mostly growth to be honest with you.
[00:04:46] We were timezone bug in Arizona. Sorry, Arizona. I don't care. I don't care about you. I don't care about Phoenix. I don't care.
>> So, deal with your time bug, wear a watch, I don't care you. Open API, I mean, this would probably be something that I put on my backlog and leave it there forever, LAUGH] just not the most important thing to me.
[00:05:09] It is cool to create like an open source ecosystem that can drive adoption down the road, but not today. Open source library, unless I'm struggling to hire developers, I'm gonna say no, bottom. Implement cash, the confidence on this would be really low MRI score, and I would say that probably falls beneath the 50% threshold.
[00:05:31] So I might just either delete the ticket or ask the engineer to come back with a more concrete proposal or with better numbers. Special racing mode, way below the cut line. This one probably would be right near my cut line, might even be my cut line thing. It's gonna serve your power users.
[00:05:54] But there's enough non power users that are gonna like, I wanna track my statistics and share it with my friend that there's kind of some growth mechanism and social myths built into that. For example, I know Peloton supports Strava and that's actually been more successful than they expect with it.
[00:06:07] So, I might lean in a little bit more into that, but that would be a cool one to put, here's my cut line and someone could say, actually Strava's a good idea, maybe we'll give you two more engineers to work on that, yeah.
>> Curiosity question really, I very much agree with your Ranking of take on the higher friction items that would help general users leave the platform.
[00:06:29] But say the Strava, we know that that's maybe a really good driver of new users or something or like we see the peloton had a surprise success with it. How would you factor in those external data points into, you've discussed a little bit with where to move it on the cut line, but is there something definitive that would move that item up or down?
>> Yeah, so this would be a perfect place for customer research. Go talk to a lot of your existing customers. Go talk to people that are in your target demographic that don't own your bike and say, where are you with Strava? And I would probably talk specifically to some Strava usersl like, hey you're on Strava would this help you get onto my bike platform if you we had this.
[00:07:14] I'm gonna imagine just my intuition of having done this stuff a bunch of time, a bunch of them we're gonna say, I track it on my phone anyway, so I don't care, right? There's gonna be some demographic of people who's like, if this doesn't have Strava, I'm gonna burn your company to the ground, right?
[00:07:29] And so, in the interest of human life, you might wanna support it. But, this would be one that I would strongly follow. It's probably an eventually do and it's probably not a soon due. And maybe one of your engineers have a hack where we could do it or something like that.
[00:07:47] But certainly, it would be customer research, would be my answer to your question there. I mean, it's the same thing here with special. I know we said deprioritize racing here. But maybe some users would be super into racing. There's a bunch of people that buy Porsches for track mode and don't even know where their closest track is, right?
[00:08:09] So you might be surprised by some of these answers, right? Some of the things that drive adoption that you wouldn't expect, right?