You are previewing Shipping Greatness.

Shipping Greatness

Cover of Shipping Greatness by Chris Vander Mey Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Shipping Greatness
  2. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
  3. Preface
    1. Shipping Is Greatness
    2. Acknowledgments
  4. One. The Shipping Greatness Process
    1. 1. How to Build a Great Mission and Strategy
      1. How to Find the Right Need to Meet
      2. How to Construct a Great Mission Statement
      3. How to Build the Right Strategy
    2. 2. How to Define a Great Product
      1. Step 1. Write a Press Release
      2. Step 2. Create a Living Frequently Asked Questions Document
      3. Step 3. Draw Wireframes and Flowcharts
      4. Step 4. Write the One-Pager and/or Build a 10-Minute Pitch
      5. Step 5. Add API s to Your FAQ
      6. Step 6. Write the Functional Specifications Document
      7. Step 7. Uncover Edge Cases and Get Buy-in from Your Team
      8. Step 8. Test on Customers
      9. Step 9. Figure Out the Basic Business Stuff: Name, Price, and Revenue
      10. Step 10. Sell Your Completed Product Idea Upstairs
      11. Your Product Is Ready to Build—Go Build It!
    3. 3. How to Build a Great User Experience
      1. Understand Design Roles: UX, UI, IA , VisD, UXR … and Personas
      2. Understand How to Evaluate Designs
      3. Understand How to Communicate with Designers
      4. Learn How to Communicate with Pictures
    4. 4. How to Achieve Project Management Greatness on a Budget
      1. Build and Maintain a Simple Schedule
      2. Track Your Bugs and Build a Bug Burndown
      3. Managing Dependencies
    5. 5. How to Do a Great Job Testing
      1. Insist on Test-Driven Development
      2. Build a Test Team Around a Test Lead
      3. Review Your Test Plan and Test Cases
      4. Automate Testing
      5. Dogfood
      6. How to Run a Bug Bash
      7. Triage Bugs Properly
      8. Use Trusted Testers
      9. Parting Thought: Use the Entire Product as a New User
    6. 6. How to Measure Greatness
      1. How to Collect the Right Metrics and Only the Right Metrics
      2. The Three Classes of Metrics You Should Collect
      3. Focus on the Goal, Not the Minutiae
    7. 7. How to Have a Great Launch
      1. Just Say No
      2. Run a War Room
      3. Instill a Sense of Urgency
      4. Complete the Launch Checklist
      5. Write the Blog Post
      6. Roll the Software Out
      7. Verify the Software Yourself
      8. Respond to the Positive and Negative Effects of Your Launch
      9. In the Case of Problems, Roll the Software Back
      10. Handle Any Production Crises
  5. Two. The Shipping Greatness Skills
    1. 8. How to Build a Shipping-Ready Team
      1. How to Start a Team
      2. How to Acquire a Company
      3. How to Work with Offshore or Remote Teams
    2. 9. How to Build Great, Shippable Technology
      1. The First S: Servers
      2. The Second S: Services
      3. The Third S: Speed
      4. The Fourth S: Scaling
      5. How to Ask the Right Technical Questions
    3. 10. How to Be a Great Shipping Communicator
      1. How to Write Great Email
      2. How to Handle the Five Types of Meetings
      3. How to Run a Good Meeting
      4. How to Build and Give a Great Presentation
    4. 11. How to Make Great Decisions
      1. Postponing: “We’ll Finish It Tomorrow”
      2. Negotiation: “OK, 10 More Minutes”
      3. Dealing with Conflict
    5. 12. How to Stay a Great Person While Shipping
      1. How to Balance Shipping, Quality and Impact, and Your Team
      2. How to Handle Randomization
      3. How to Manage Your Energy While Shipping
      4. How to Use Escalation as a Tool, Not an Excuse
      5. How to Eat the S#!@ Sandwich and Survive
    6. 13. That Was Great; Let’s Do It Again
  6. A. 10 Principles of Shipping
  7. B. Essential Artifacts Your Team Needs
  8. C. References and Further Reading
    1. Product Definition
    2. Managing Management
    3. Engineering Management
    4. UX
    5. Metrics
    6. Communications
  9. D. How to Contact Us
    1. We’d Like to Hear from You
    2. Safari® Books Online
  10. About the Author
  11. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
  12. Copyright

Chapter 2. How to Define a Great Product

THE NEXT STEP OF the shipping process is making your product idea understandable and specific. If you’ve defined a mission and a strategy, then you have an understanding of who your customer is and what that customer needs. You also know what you need to do better and differently than your competition. With this knowledge and some inventiveness, you should be able to brainstorm a rough product idea. Or, if you’re like the vast majority of us, your management said, “Go build X,” and now you have to use more than one letter to communicate your objective to your team. In other words, how can you make the product real enough in words that designers can make mocks, recruiters can hire engineers to build it, and you can get funding to buy donuts and servers?

As you try to make your product understandable and specific, you will uncover assumptions that you’ve made about customer problems. These assumptions were baked into your strategy and your mission, because both your strategy and your mission followed from customer needs. I hate to break it to you, but you might be wrong about what customers need. We all know that Amazon, Google, and others have been wrong many times. So you’re probably right, but the best way to prove you are is to give customers a product and see what they say.

Serial software entrepreneur Eric Ries seems to agree with this approach, and makes a compelling case for building what he calls the minimum viable product in his book ...

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