Products Design Through a Story


Expression is very important for product managers, but this expression is definitely not like debaters to defeat all opponents, but can clearly express their ideas and product design.

When we do product design, we often need to set a core positioning, become a way of life, and record a good life... So we need to deliberately train ourselves to try to do the top-level design of the product, and then express this concept. Under this concept, many issues will have a basis for decision-making.

1. Learn to tell stories

Storytelling is a very effective way of expressing product design solutions; train yourself to express any project, system, and features you make in 100 words. The same expression can be a public presentation after your design is finished. It is also a review of the ideas before the design, and this story is not based on features but based on the statement of scenes and roles, for example:

As we all know, as a record of assets, the account center often causes account overdraft due to some transaction scenarios, resulting in users' arrears to the platform; Then the debt has the risk of bad debts; For the sake of assets security, we need to find the arrears and recover them. Based on the actual situation, there can be many ways of recovering them.

2. The secret of the story

The above paragraph is actually a story. The story is very plain and clear. On any occasion, whether in the face of R & D, testing, boss or cleaning aunt, I think everyone knows what you want to do because of what. You may not know that such a paragraph is enough to lead you to complete the design of the whole project.

Therefore, I call this description "product story". We can easily express our product story, just as we can easily express that we are hungry and want to eat.

Why do I say there are many secrets in this story? We marked the keywords and what did you find. 

As we all know, as a record of assets, the account center often causes account overdraft due to some transaction scenarios , resulting in users' arrears to the platform; Then the debt has the risk of bad debts; For the sake of assets security, we need to find the arrears and recover them. Based on the actual situation, there can be many ways of recovering them.

The keywords in the story are like the entrance of the engine, which can help us to open the door of thinking continuously, and slowly a systematic and meticulous structure will come out. If you don’t believe me, let’s try it.

1. Assets

What is an asset? Different situations or users of different companies will have different definitions. The settlement payment is an asset, the deposit is an asset, and maybe credit can also become an asset; so, we have to ask ourselves how to "Defining assets", this is our next step in the analysis of assets, assets have its form, its measurement, its grades; if we get the user's assets in several forms.

Settlement payment, deposit, credit.

So how to express these assets? The balance in the account is easy to say, so how to obtain the credit? This is a new analysis task... So the analysis around assets is gradually carried out, and they are self consistent and complementary to each other.

2. Some transaction scenarios

Account assets are actually generated based on transactions, so some transaction scenarios will have different asset direction changes, such as what transaction scenario will increase assets and what transaction scenario will lose assets. Here, only the transaction scenario with lost assets will cause asset overdraft; So what trading scenarios will cause account overdraft? This is another analysis task. Can the overdraft caused by the same different transaction scenarios be solved through the system? Here we find another possibility to solve the problem.

3. Overdraft

Overdraft is a phenomenon. Not all accounts center allows overdraft. So even if overdraft is not allowed, some arrears will occur after the occurrence of some trading scenarios. However, such arrears are more subtle. For example, the refund of the order is not successful because the balance is insufficient, so the order to be refund is actually another expression of the arrears. So what are the benefits of allowing the account to overdraft? In fact, it is to make the arrears appear and easier to calculate. For example, the subsequent income can directly deduct the arrears; Otherwise, the subsequent income cannot be offset with the orders to be returned; So we have a deeper analysis of overdraft. Of course, this analysis can continue.

4. Arrears

Arrears are the exposure of asset risks and a result; then they are also the problems we want to solve this time. Once arrears occur, it means that there may be losses in the future; here is the same as defining assets, how do we define arrears and what in what form; If we take the negative account balance as the expression of arrears. 

5. Risk

As mentioned earlier, arrears are problems, so the risk is the object we want to eliminate, and it is also the purpose of our products. How big is the risk, whether it has reached the point to be solved immediately, and if it is eliminated, how much value it means to create; The definition and quantification of risk has become the key to our definition of product value; If the current total amount of debt is 10 million, then this amount obviously needs to be eliminated. Therefore, the significance of this product is to eliminate the risk capital gap of 10 million.

6. Asset security

Blocking risks and ensuring the safety of assets are a positive and a negative expressions. They are also the core responsibility of an assets product manager to ensure the safety of assets.

7. Find the arrears

How much money is owed now, and who owes money, so we need a mechanism to report the risk and provide it to the responsible person for evaluation.

8. Recover

What is recovery, in fact, is to ask for money, how and when, so we need to establish a sound recovery system.

9. Ways

Since you want to recover the money, do you need the method of recovery? Do you need the way of repayment if you want to repay the money; In addition, with what also, with the deposit? Direct payment of arrears? How about each repayment method? Here, we begin to see the shadow of solutions... And with the development, this method will become more and more, so this place will also become an expansionary starting point, which I call "expansion gene".

Taking the story as the starting point, a product drama slowly opened.

3. Learn to abstract business processes

When we do product design, we should not start drawing pages and brain maps at the beginning. We should first tell stories and then determine the main business process, that is, scene simulation.

In the above story, although we found several analysis entrances, there is actually a main line in the whole story, and this main line is the business process; and the sorting out of the business process will determine the quality of the design.
In fact, the process is very easy. When we express a thing or think about a thing, we can start from the most certain and macroscopic perspective, and then continue to revise and supplement it until the chain is smooth enough.
Just like the main business process of the transaction: the user places an order, merchant delivers and receives the products, and order completed. This is easy to understand. If this understanding is not wrong, then I can continue to refine it.
Select products, place an order, pay, deliver, confirm receipt, settle accounts, settle accounts with merchants….

Similarly, in the above story, we can abstract such a process.

How should we look at the process? Take apart the process to see the links; Analyze each link; Make sure there are no missing links, and then enrich each link.

It takes a few steps to put the elephant in the refrigerator. Open the refrigerator door, put the elephant in, and close the refrigerator door; At this time, you certainly need to think about how to open the refrigerator door, pull the door handle by hand, or have a remote button... Thinking is always going deeper from the simplest entry point; Don't think directly about how to open the refrigerator door without determining these three steps. Why? Because you don't know why to open, you can't know the linkage and relevance between the opening link and the front and back links, and this kind of overall thinking will affect the definition and judgment of a single link.

From the above process, we found that the definition of assets and the discovery of arrears are all static results; and the recovery process seems to be very rich. First of all, we will have questions: how to recover, who will recover, what users will use to repay, and how repay? ...

4. Disassembly of business process

This requires us to have the ability to disassemble the process. In a large process, we will find that there are small processes or more complex network processes; from the links, we can dismantle more detailed processes, such as we just said above. In the "recovery link", there are several we need to abstract, such as:

How to recover: The abstraction of recovery methods, such as online recovery and offline recovery.

Who will recover: the definition of recovery responsibilities, such as operators.

What users use to repay: the abstraction of deductible assets given to users, such as deposit and bank card.

How to repay: This is actually a sub-process of the recovery link, that is, a sub-process of each recovery method.

And from the flow chart, we found that the recovery method is scalable. With the development, there will be more and more recovery methods, and the entrance to the recovery method is when you choose to recover a certain amount of arrears.

5. Design of business sub-process

In the above process that has been dismantled, we found three sub-processes, that is, the process of "different recovery methods"; and the process should be designed separately for different recovery methods.

6. Sorting of other links

There will also be tasks to be done in the definition of assets, that is, how many assets are there? How to define assets? How to calculate each asset; then calculating each asset will become a sub-process of the asset link, and the classification of assets will become the main line of future expansion.

7. Product feature analysis

At this stage, it's much easier for us to think about what kind of features we need. For example, in the asset definition link, we should do a "total asset management", and in the discovery of arrears link, we should do a "arrears management". After each arrears, we will add a "recovery" entry, and then determine the "recovery method" and enter the process of each recovery method.

The core purpose of this article is to develop the ability to tell stories, then discover the secrets from the stories, discover the process, and disassemble the process in an orderly manner, so as to complete the definition, analysis, abstraction and design of the product step by step.

The advantage of this is that we start from the story, not with the purpose of realizing the feature, but with the direction of realizing the future described by the story, and peeling off the plot of the story layer by layer to achieve the goal.

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