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Product Strategy for Designers

Learn to bridge business strategy and design to create products people love

Ben Yoskovitz

Product designers have one of the toughest jobs in any organization. You’re problem solvers who use design to find product-market fit and create value for users and customers. You’re brand guardians with an eye for detail. But the world doesn’t always understand what you do and how you do it. Not everyone realizes the full impact of design on key metrics and how design drives a business forward. Too often, design is viewed as an appendage to the entire product development and management process as opposed to an integrated, essential component.

Product Strategy for Designers provides an in-depth, hands-on exploration of business strategy, product management, and the role of design in both these disciplines. Over two three-hour sessions, through a combination of lecture, case studies, and exercises, you’ll learn various tools, techniques, and processes for understanding and mapping business strategies, measuring what matters, and learning how to build quality products that solve real problems. Designers will leave with a more holistic view of how businesses operate, how product management functions, and how design can impact both.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • Key concepts of product development and management, such as pricing models, business models, data analytics, and product roadmapping, to be sure you’re designing a product that meets the needs of your target market
  • How design fits into a business and how your work can have an impact in achieving broader business goals
  • How to fit design into the product development cycle
  • How to collaborate more closely with product management and engineering teams to deliver the right products to market

And you’ll be able to:

  • Figure out what to build, with confidence?
  • Determine the most important use of your organization’s resources?
  • Leverage Lean principles and tactics to build better products?
  • Use data analytics to build products your customers want and to measure success

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re an experienced designer in a leadership position who needs to understand product strategy to better direct and manage your team’s design efforts
  • You’re at the top of your game in design, but you realize you could make greater contributions to your organization if you learned more about the strategic side of product development
  • You regularly interface with product management and business teams and you need to know their concerns and motivations-and speak their language-to achieve greater success together

Prerequisites

A basic knowledge of Lean Startup is helpful but not required.

Recommended related reading and viewing, either before or after the course:

You’ll be invited to join a private Slack channel for the duration of the course; access to Slack is not required, but it’s recommended for you to get the most out of this course.

About your instructor

  • Ben Yoskovitz (@byosko) is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and author with 20 years of experience in the technology industry. Most recently, Ben was VP Product at VarageSale and VP Product at GoInstant (which was acquired by Salesforce). He also ran a startup accelerator, Year One Labs, which provided funding and up to one year of hands-on mentorship. Year One Labs followed a Lean Startup program, making it the first accelerator to formalize such a structure. Three of five companies graduated from Year One Labs and went on to raise follow-on financing; one of those companies, Localmind, was acquired by Airbnb. Ben is the coauthor of Lean Analytics, a book that combines Lean Startup best practices and analytics to help people build businesses and products faster. He regularly writes about Lean Startup, product management, angel investing, scaling startups, and other topics on his Instigator Blog.

Schedule

The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Day one

Introduction (15 min)
- Framing design in the context of a business

Business mapping (45 min)

  • How to map a business
  • Using the Business Model Canvas
  • Using the Lean Canvas

Break (15 min)

Metrics: The fundamentals (35 min)

  • What is a good metric
  • What is a vanity metric and why that’s bad
  • Different types of metrics
  • Correlation and causation

Break (15 min)

Measuring success: An introduction to Lean Analytics (55 min)

  • 5 Stages of product development
  • Mapping business models
  • The One Metric That Matters (KPIs)
  • Measuring product/market fit
  • Lean Analytics cycle
  • Exercise and homework: Complete a Lean Analytics “systems diagram” (mapping business models), identify “trouble areas” to focus on in Day 2, and identify your One Metric That Matters

Day two

Product roadmaps and prioritization (90 min)

  • The role of product managers
  • Defining product roadmaps (both short-term and long-term)
  • Managing feature prioritization
  • Collecting inputs to successfully decide what to build and how to build it
  • Exercises: Your choice of either a feature prioritization or a project scope exercise

Break (15 min)

Applying data and product management best practices to design (45 min)

  • Applying product management best practices (and Lean principles) to design
  • Deciding on the level of user testing and feedback required
  • Deciding on the right fidelity (mockups, prototypes, etc.) for designs
  • Defining KPIs for design
  • Understanding risk and product development timelines
  • Measuring efficiency and managing projects
  • Deciding what to test and how
  • Exercise: Produce a list of potential experiments and tests you can execute as “design sprints” with their product/development teams.

Break (15 min)

Fitting product design into the product development process (15 min)

  • Fitting design into the product development cycle
  • Aligning engineering, product management and management with design
  • Managing up and sideways