What we do

For the better part of our professional lives we have striven to build great products in one role or the other. Starting with first ideas, creating initial sketches, generating prototypes, through the knee-deep machine oil of the development process, finally into the market with customers and users. We’ve gone all the way.

Our experience has taught us that it requires a particular and omnipresent set of skills and proficiencies to make successful products.

We have distilled our learnings into condensed packages of highly-relevant knowledge. It is our desire to let you benefit from our learnings and accelerate your journey towards Master in Product Craftsmanship.

Covered topics

Customers are not interested in products – but in solutions to their problems.

Neither a beautiful design nor mastery of a highly difficult technological challenge is what makes a good product. In the end, the only thing that matters is whether there are enough people who are willing to pay for it – or not.

From the early start, any product idea needs to be accompanied by thoughts about whether it has the chance to sell successfully or not. Otherwise you are going to spend a huge amount of time and lots of money into building something nobody wants – no matter how beautiful it is. However, finding out about this cannot be achieved by firing up a spreadsheet editor and building business extrapolations based on non-significant data derived from in-office assumptions.

However, there exist established methods (together with underlying mindsets) that can lead the way from a nice idea to a rock-solid and good-selling product.

Beyond other things, this module will cover

  • Defining benefit;
  • Establishing channels to potential customers;
  • Finding key assets necessary to provide a product;
  • Evaluating if customers are willing to pay – without bias;
  • Getting Proof of Concept early.

Customers often want something different than they say – and they usually say something different than they think.

Exploring customer wishes properly is an art that avoids disappointments on all sides and takes care that expensive resources are put to work in the right direction.

The best insights for the targeted customer clientele are not made at the whiteboard or in in-office discussions – but on-site “on the customer’s lap”. However, the hard part starts right now: not all exploration techniques are valid for all situations. This part will enable you to select the right customer exploration methods at the right time in order to get to rock-solid and valid assumptions for the product or service to be built.

Among other things, we will cover

  • Survey techniques;
  • Questionnaires and interview techniques;
  • Observation techniques;
  • Categories of customer wishes;
  • Impact of fulfilled customer wishes on customer satisfaction.

A vision isn’t a product scope – but a good starter.

If the scope of a product or service development hasn’t been clearly defined you can’t say if you are working into the right direction. This immediately results in needlessly spent time and unnecessarily high efforts. Customers, team and other stakeholders who have differing opinions of the scope of a future product will not just magically move towards a common goal. They will divert.

We will explore methods to initially set the focus of an undertaking, to keep it updated under changing plans and to be able to reach a set objective.

Among other things, we will cover

  • Typical influencing factors for any product and service development and their categorization;
  • Handling of sudden events with severe impact to the product scope;
  • Visualization techniques for these aspects.

Even the first steps towards a new product or service don’t start from scratch – there’s always someone already there who wants to exercise influence on them.

Treating all those fairly who step up to influence a product or service development saves lots of trouble and provides a constructive workflow. In order to achieve this it’s necessary to get an overview about the existing – implicit, explicit and covert – exertions of influence taking place, about spheres of interest harboring potential for conflict and how these aspects interrelate.

In this part we’ll talk about criteria useful to categorize stakeholders, about how to put them to use for the product or service development, how to set up communication with them, how to reach agreements with them – or how to keep them out of the loop respectfully.

Among other things, we will cover

  • Methods for identifying relevant stakeholders;
  • Essential criteria for the classification of stakeholders and their consequences;
  • Determining the area of influence of stakeholders;
  • Visualisation techniques for these aspects.

As soon as there is more than one person involved, disagreements come into play – that’s not bad as long as no war develops from them.

There are conflicts regarding decisions in any product or service development. This is not bad per se. First of all it simply shows that contributors and stakeholders care. However it’s important to identify conflicts early and to address them appropriately so that efforts go into productive work rather than into fueling the conflict.

In this know how package we will find out together which types of conflicts there are and how they can be categorized. We will talk about methods for conflict resolution, to which types of conflicts they can be applied – and to which they cannot.

Every now or then there are conflict situations which cannot be mitigated with resources at hand. We are going to explore how these can be identified and which possibilities exist here. This Producteers Know-How package builds on the contents of the “Stakeholder Management” package and we recommed to keep that order.

Among other things, we will cover

  • Interests behind positions (The Harvard Negotiation approach);
  • Types of conflicts;
  • Conflict resolution methods and how they can be applied;
  • Visualisation techniques for these aspects.

Solutions “thrown over the fence” can be as ingenious as they want – they will always court resentment. Except with their creator. She simply doesn’t know what hit her.

Everyone is struggling for a product or service feature’s best possible solution. More often than not, the supposedly best possible solution turns out to be too expensive; or the right people to implement it are missing; or the available technology simply doesn’t allow for it.

The most crucial point is that only solutions crafted in the team will be sustainable in the long term. In order to come to these balanced solutions a deep and shared understanding of the underlying domain problem is needed. But even taking that for granted, finding a technical solution is by no means a self-runner.

Discussions about possible solutions may divert completely or change focus. We are going to provide techniques enabling you to get to sustainable technical solutions for customer problems with your team.

Among other things, we will cover

  • Putting the problem into focus;
  • Breaking ground;
  • The old “80/20” rule;
  • Handling uncertainty;
  • How to deal with complex technical restrictions;
  • Visualisation techniques for these aspects.

No documentation of a product or service development will automatically establish mutual understanding – however, its absence won’t do that, either.

There’s always a point of time when certain product features need to be written down – either in order to purchase them from external sources, for the (internal) development team or as product description (e.g., for warranty reasons) for potential customers.

Inadequate documentation can lead to efforts being invested into product features not doing what they are supposed to do or to incorrect perceptions about the product. Both leads inevitably to expectations not met and disappointment. This Producteers Know-How package will assist you in mastering advanced techniques of writing product descriptions and specifications. The contents of our “Scope Management” and “Customer Exploration” are a foundation of this Producteers Know-How Package.

Among other things, we will cover

  • User Stories done right – and other options for writing down requirements;
  • Visualisation techniques for product requirements (e.g., by use of UML);
  • Acceptance criteria;
  • Quality criteria for specification documents and product descriptions.

Ever been punished by a 3 hour meeting without any usable results and not seen a chance to escape?

Certain behavioral patterns have proven to be helpful, time-saving, consensus inducing and effective in the development of new products and services. This know-how package introduces the most essential ones and will discuss when and where they can be applied best.

Among other things, we will cover

  • Interest based negotiations (Win-Win);
  • Area of influence and area of interest;
  • Work hacks for effective meetings;
  • Effort and gain;
  • Smokescreening;
  • Why empty pages like to remain empty;
  • “Put the money where the mouth is”

Download the complete program in German here or in English here.