Tom Chi and Marty Cagan were the stand-out speakers of a recent conference devoted to product management. (theirs was an outlook more suited to new product development/ reinvention than mid-cycle management)
To summarise -
- product development is product validation - a means of both exploring what you Could do, but just as importantly, deciding what you Should do
- you need a lot of collateral to test as only a small percentage is ever any good
- you'll therefore need to make lots of prototypes - quickly
- you'll need materials that let you work as quickly as you can think (Chi showed how they made basic Google Goggles after a day, testing the balance/weight using just wire and clay)
I think this is very exciting - the realisation of work with quick results.
So what purpose prototyping? Some of my recent work has involved prototyping in the following guises -
Pathfinding - Data x expert + what we can and cannot do
Selling/ convincing - Selling to clients and departments with real, running code - allows them to sell on internally too
Feasibility - see above - satisfies all that the basics are covered - there are many more
So I'm currently looking at people, companies and tools that will let me understand, test, display very very quickly.
But be careful what you wish for - a Tableau genius I worked with said that Tableau "can make things quicker than you can think" - not necessarily a good thing - let's start with speed of thought and go from there.