Techweek Day 2: How to Build Great Products

The thesis of ‘How to Build Great Products: Design and Roadmapping’ by Nicolette Moreno, Founder & Chief Product Officer of Open English, was that building great products is about thinking holistically. It is about deeply considering different points of view. Nicolette asked who is really good about thinking holistically? Women.

She had a great slide saying, ‘Men: If you wanna know what a woman’s mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,571 tabs open all the time.’

One tactic she suggested was to create a list of problems and why they exist. Take that list and then use it to help define what you are not. Then, define your epics (really big developments – things you would write a press release about). Next, prioritize your epics.

She talked about the importance of writing out user stories. As a ____, I want to ____ in order to _____. It is important to define these as business needs, use wireframes to communicate these and take them (with the user stories) all the way to your programmers. The designs and wireframes should map to and match with the user stories. If they don’t, you have problems!

Have roadmaps and plan, plan, plan the releases of your epics. Don’t be afraid to put in maybe’s. When sharing roadmap, develop one single timeline but deliver different levels of details to different groups of people. The developers and architects need more details than a board of directors. If you don’t know an answer, say that.

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