Understanding Different Product World Views

Lean Analytic CycleUnderstanding a”points of view” is a tricky subject. First, you have to come to the realization that every person sees and understands what is around them according to their own world view. The images, sounds, smells, feelings and concepts we deal with every moment are filtered and adapted within our own context.

What this means is that we literally do not, in fact cannot, see or understand the exact same thing. We may be able to understand someone else’s point of view and context and we may be able to find commonality between us, but these are the hallmarks of empathy, not actual adoption of their world view.

The simple truth is – our brains cannot present literally every sensory and mental input to our conscious self while still leaving us bandwidth to focus on what is important to us. So instead the sub-conscience contextualizes information it passes to the conscience which results in “seeing” what is important to us, rather than  drowning us in details. Thus, a mouse reacts to the shadow of a hawk without pausing to think. The famous “Invisible Gorilla” experiment has been run in many forms over the years and the results have been confirmed many times over.

So, consider the job of a product manger. They must have a clear, internal understanding of the word view of the users of their product, down to the feature set that different segments of their audience must have to realize value. That is the key reason for the “get out of the office” mantra, testing the minimum viable product, and the process of involving early adopters in the Lean Startup methodology.  But, as a recent article in Street Smart Product Manager points out – that isn’t the end of the points of view a product manager has to consider.

Using his Product Canvas variation of the Lean Startup Canvas, Shardul tracks the relevant issues for the customer, product manager, marketing, sales, operations, engineering, and executives of the company delivering the product. It is an important exercise because each one of them has a different set of drivers and in turn, a different world view. But every one, has to understand and buy into the product from their own point of view. The overview provides some insight into how the methodology and tools of Lean Startups can be applied any organization to help de-risk and prioritize product development.

Have you considered the different world views that impact your product development and success? How has it changed your process and outcomes?