Product Management and Design: Identify Problems and Quantify Opportunities

Product Management identifies problems in the marketplace, conducts analysis, and quantifies opportunities for solutions to the problems. Product Management develops a better understanding of the market, customers, and the customers’ end-users, to create Buyer and User Personas. Personas are a stand-in for a unique group of people who share common goals. They are fictional representatives—archetypes based on the users’ behaviors, attitudes, and goals.

In some companies, the Product Design group assists Product Management in developing personas. As part of the design process, product designers conduct qualitative research that includes reviewing the target market segmentation and demographic data necessary to establish the design direction. Designers also interview stakeholders, customers, and users, in order to gain insight into the product domain and user population. This information feeds directly into the types and characteristics of the personas that drive the design.

Once personas have been developed, scenarios are created. Scenarios are “short stories” that describe a user’s interaction with the solution. Scenarios are useful to Product Management to help define the business cases and useful for Product Design to help define the user interface design.

Product Management and Product Design use the scenarios to develop use cases. A use case is a single case of use—user interaction with the solution—that is well-defined, and meaningful from the user’s perspective. Use cases are more detailed than scenarios—more systematic and structured—and define the tasks and expected outcomes. Use cases provide a concise medium for modeling user requirements; are a powerful tasks model for understanding user needs and guiding user interface design; and guide the design of communicating objects to satisfy functional requirements for Development.

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