Most bad product decisions are justified by what the business needs.
Most good product decisions are justified by what the customer needs.
Most PMs don’t notice the difference between the two.
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- “We should do X to increase retention / purchase conversions / engagement.”
- “We need this sign-up step because our infrastructure requires a unique user ID.”
- “We should make customers use more features to increase engagement and LTV.”
- “We want to expand into the adjacent market segment because it is gaining momentum.”
- “We should increase paying conversions and LTV to recoup our marketing investments more quickly.”
I’m sure you have heard similar rationales for decisions.
None of them are about improving the lives of customers — making the product better at solving user problems.
Instead, most of them are about what the team or business wants.
And when you just do what the business wants, it rarely helps the user to live better.
That’s why these product decisions rarely end well.
Here’s an exercise. Pay attention to how people at your company explain decisions.
Are they based on what the business needs or what the customer needs?