Talk About the Growth Skills of Enterprise Product Manager from Three Aspects


Whether it is a consumer product manager or an enterprise product manager, we all need to restore the user's usage scenario through the business mentioned by the user, so as to grasp the essence of the demand. This is what I mean by mining the "essence" through the "appearance".

To consumer product managers tend to become users of their own products. For example, Uber's product managers use Uber to take a taxi, so they can grasp the essence of needs from the perspective of users; But sometimes the product manager of enterprise is not necessarily the user of its own products. For example, I am not a HR specialist, cashier or accountant who has planned HR and financial features.

So how can the product manager of to B better grasp the "essence" through "appearance"? I think the two effective methods are as follows:

1. Be good at asking users

If the user wants to eat durian, then the matter of "wanting to eat durian" is the appearance. We have to ask the user "are you hungry", and the user replies "yes", then "the user is hungry and needs to be full" is the essence. 

At this time, we need to think about "can durian really make people full", and life common sense tells us that "Durian will be hungry soon after eating, and the effect of satiety is not good"; Then, we further thought about "what can replace durian, which has better satiety effect and lower cost". We thought of bread.

Then continue to ask the user "can you accept the bread", and the user replied "acceptable". For users, bread is more satiety than durian, and bread meets the needs of users. For software service providers, durian costs tens or even hundreds of dollars, while bread costs only a few dollars; We provide bread, which can meet the needs of users at a lower cost, so as to create greater profit.

Therefore, through the appearance of "wanting to eat durian", we provided "bread", a solution that can better meet the essential needs of users. In the end, both the software service provider and the user are happy and a win-win situation has been achieved.

2. Become the real user of the features you plan

When I first took over the financial needs, I was a graduate of engineering major and had not been engaged in financial work. I asked my colleagues around me "why should the voucher be balanced", and then I was severely ridiculed. So I decided to teach myself financial knowledge and try to experience the work of financial personnel.

For example, when financial personnel "enter vouchers" for a long time, I experienced the inefficiency of manually entering vouchers. Referring to office software such as Excel and Word, we know that shortcut keys can improve our office efficiency to a certain extent. Then, we enrich the shortcut key feature of entering vouchers, and try to cover all use scenarios in which financial personnel enter vouchers faster through shortcut keys.
However, in the era of advocating "office automation", the efficiency of manually entering vouchers is still too low. Is it possible for us to further improve the efficiency of entering voucher? Therefore, we planned the "automatic business voucher" to automatically enter vouchers through business documents to further liberate financial personnel.

For enterprise product managers, one of our values ​​lies in reducing the labor cost of the enterprise by improving the work efficiency of employees. And experience the work of real personnel, we can understand the tedious and time-consuming parts of the work, and then we will solve it.

2. Universality and Personalization

Enterprise products have a variety of user groups: according to the size of enterprises, they can be divided into large enterprises, medium-sized enterprises, small enterprises, micro enterprises, etc; According to the industry division, it can be divided into manufacturing industry, catering industry, financial industry, software industry, etc. The diversity of user groups means the diversity of customer services.

If we develop products separately according to the personalized usage scenarios of each enterprise, then our development cost is very high, and it is impossible for our BOSS to agree with us. Therefore, we need to abstract the generality of requirements from the diversity of business, and at the same time meet the personalized usage scenarios of each enterprise.

For example: I planned the HR features before. Regarding the small feature of "can employees ask for leave after the vacation balance is exceeded", some companies with strict management require that "after the vacation balance is exceeded, the employee cannot initiate a leave request after the current vacation balance is used up, while some companies with looser management allow "employees to take leave after the balance is exceeded."

Therefore, I planned the vocation balance control intensity settings, which are divided into "cannot ask for leave" and "early warning reminder". For companies with strict management, they can set the control intensity of "cannot ask for leave". After their employees have used up the vacation balance, they cannot initiate leave approval for the corresponding vacation type.

Companies with relatively loose management can set the control intensity of "early warning reminder". When an employee runs out of leave balance, it initiates leave approval. When the superior or HR specialist in charge of approval clicks the "approve" button, the system pops up a panel to remind the approver that "the employee's leave balance has been used up, do you want to continue to approve". They can still agree to the leave approval after understanding the special situation of the employee.

Universality and personalization are not completely contradictory. We can abstract the individualized needs of each enterprise as universal requirements. At the same time, as a enterprise product in the SaaS field, the personalized configuration we emphasize must be a visual configuration, and users can set it directly according to the enterprise management situation, rather than special codes processing of software service provider.

Only in this way can our products be truly versatile and meet more enterprise usage scenarios. When the same feature is used by more companies, the R&D cost allocated to a single company will naturally decrease according to the marginal effect. At present, companies of enterprise product are trying to balance "universality and personalization" as much as possible, and control the rapid increase in costs while increasing revenue, thereby creating the possibility of profitability.

3. One step VS rapid iteration

Enterprises have paid hundreds of thousands or millions, hoping to enjoy all the software services signed by the contract in one step. In reality, due to reasons such as "advanced  launch time due to client requiring" and "delayed software service provider R&D resources", there is no way for us to deliver all features in one step.

For example, I am the project manager and product manager of a catering project this year. Due to the seasonal changes of the catering industry, customers will have "peak season" and "off-season". Customers must go online before the "peak season" to achieve better profits. At the same time, customers have a lot of stores, resulting in great pressure on delivery on time.

We decided to adopt the agile development method, firstly launching the features that are most important to the customer's business, and then launching the optimization features. So, I went to the client company to investigate and dig out the client's business process, from making sales orders to generating business reports, forming a closed loop, which is the minimum available product MVP.

Then we have to launch features such as making sales orders and generating business reports in one step. Only part of the on-line features can not be used by customers. After the launch, the customer uses it normally, and then we launch the cash register, so that the system can automatically generate a sales order, so as to iterate the product, improve the work efficiency of employees, and gain the recognition of customers.

We need to reach the minimum available product MVP in one step to meet the normal business operation of customers. At the same time, we need to iterate quickly to further optimize the operation experience and improve customer satisfaction.

In the end, a product is the final product of the demander, designer, developer, and others that are agreed upon based on the customer's needs. The source of demand is the customer. We must fully communicate with the customer and master a certain methodology to achieve a win-win solution with the customer. 

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