Monday, January 20, 2014

Amazon Product Management

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Amazon has a very distinctive technique for bringing a new product to market. Instead of throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, they begin new product development with a notional press release followed by a first cut at the product's FAQ. Keep in mind that the press release will never be published in its original form – rather, it's a guide to keep the business, product, and engineering teams on the same sheet of music. I think of the press release as the high level, 30,000', strategic view of the product and the FAQ as the operational, 10,000', view.

Once the press release and FAQ are created the marketing team can layout their vision which is then passed to the product department to document the functional specifications, wire diagrams, and technical requirements for the engineering team to develop and the QA team to test against.

At the end of the day, though, it's a company's corporate culture that drives the success of their products. At Amazon, their corporate culture focuses on what the customer wants. This "the customer is always right" mentality may seem obvious, but it really does depend on each company's DNA. When I worked at Apple, our priority was to provide the best possible user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX).

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