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Product Mindset - How this thinking supports the Digital Product team

More and more companies are interested in applying Product mindset in building digital products.

Product Mindset - How this thinking supports the Digital Product team

What is the definition of Product Mindset? How does Product Mindset support Digital Product team and how to successful apply this thinking in building digital products which meet the business goals as well as a good UX? Let's explore this topic with GEEK Up in this blog post!

1. What is the Product Mindset?

Product Mindset is a thinking about building product for users, with a focus on solving problems to satisfy certain needs that brings values for users, hence meeting the business goals.

Product Mindset plays an essential role in product teams of Tech start-ups as well as businesses that take digital products as a “weapon” to enhance competitive advantages.

2. From The Project Mindset to The Product Mindset

Following the approaching ways with the project mindset, developer team and design team rarely pay attention on which business’s products, solutions could resolve customer’s demands, user behaviors, and usually put those concerns for Sales & Marketing teams. They are only interested in product descriptions, specific features and use best practices and inherent capacities to solve business requirements.

The foremost concern of each member of product teams that own the Product Mindset is not only basic requirements (resources, timeline, etc.) but tricky questions “What problem does this product solve, what problem does the target user have, what value does it contribute to the business?” instead of what are the solutions and features in needs? Then, product teams start to study pieces of knowledge, necessary tools and build relevant expertise to create digital products with the most appropriate technology solutions rather than the latest technologies or limited capacity and backgrounds of members when making products.

The differences between the Project Mindset and the Product Mindset show through some below elements:

  • The Project Mindset focuses on the final output follows to the description of allocated resources and estimated time. Meanwhile, The Product Mindset considers specific tasks to boost the business revenue and does not limit in fixed period of time, supports to realize the business’s long-term vision.
  • The human role in a project is just considered as a mere resource that can be replaced in emergency cases and prioritize the performance. Meanwhile, product management maintains a long-term relationship with employees and recognize their contributions.
  • When building a product, all teams from engineers and system architects to operations administrators, sales and marketing personnel - whether they have the product expertise - need to align on business goals. The project mindset does not promote transparency and alignment, which creates a gap between technical solutions and business goals.
  • Project Mindset team will determines the final budget based on milestones, while the product mindset team will calculate ones based on the incremental values to deliver for businesses.
  • For Project Mindset, the timeline usually is defined by the quarter, years, and expiration day of project. In contrast, the Product Mindset will follow the product life cycle (probably lasting for a few years) and consider the maintenance included.
  • The risk is clearly defined during planning session of a Project Mindset team, while the Product Mindset team always welcomes risks and consider ones as a chance to improve.
  • The success of a product is measured by the added values for businesses, not only limits in completing milestones and saving costs; Project progress is still a vital factor in the product-building process but the act of improvement is always a priority.
product mindset vs project mindset
Source: Project to Product - How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption with the Flow Framework" by Mik Kersten

3. How does Product Mindset improve capacities of building product?

Understanding the context and problems of users helps the product team to propose the best solution, enhance the ability to optimize, upgrade and expand the functionality of the product to better solve users' and business' problems.

In addition, the goal of creating products that meet user needs also motivates the team to constantly learn, research and learn knowledge, technology and propose appropriate solutions in the development process.

In addition, a product development team that has product mindset as well as user perspectives and understands the business goals of the business, will easily understand the requirements from the sales team without going through a middle layer briefing the product requirement as a normal project management process.

4. How to upgrade Product Mindset for Product Team?

According to Julie Zhuo, former Vice President of Product Design at Facebook, people with product mindset can identify what makes a valuable and popular product and how to design it.

In order to improve product thinking, according to Julie Zhuo, the team needs to cultivate the ability to observe and analyze new products, evaluate the user experience on products, as well as have a curiosity, never stop thinking about the reason behind the user behavior, the success of a product.

They never stop learning to understand the essence of the product, discussing their favorite products/services, not only from a personal perspective but also from an evaluation perspective view of users, businesses.

Read more: Enabling Human Capacity in technology development

Particular in GEEK Up, to upgrade the Product Mindset, senior members are pioneers who imbued with the Product Mindset before communicating and exchanging with other members in the "language of the Product Mindset" from the perspective of providing value to users while meeting business goals of the enterprise. The whole team will transparently and unanimously discuss the direction of product development and align on how to solve problems with the Product Mindset. Hence, forming the Product Mindset for each member.

References: comakeit.com, blog.careerly.vn, projecttoproduct.org, accenture.com

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