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You and your customer

Watch Alex Cowan discuss the lens through which different departments within an organization view a customer.
How do you take this testable focus that you’ve created around the customer, and use it to drive to that interdisciplinary center of the intersection between these three things? It’s not just about telling everybody about the customer so that they understand how important it is. All the different roles in your organization have a relatively specific lens, through which they need to understand what you’ve discovered about the customer, and the outcome that you want to drive through to them. What does your data science team need? Well, they need a strong sequential narrative of what the customer experience is. So that they have an intuitive understanding that they can then go and create inferences and collect data against. Also, they need data.
It’s important to think about how you instrument data into your product, so that your data scientists can help you make inferences about what the customer’s doing, and even possibly predictions about what they’ll do in the future. How about your project managers? Well, they need a view of how to translate the outcomes you want into features at a relatively abstract level, and how you’re going to get outcomes on those sequentially, and how they kind of relate to each other, these things. So, we’re going to Introduce this experience, have this happen and depending on the outcome then we’ll do this or that.
With that, they can help you hopefully using agile, manage your teams so that they’re bringing you back working product in nice small predictable increments which is what’s going to allow you to successfully iterate on the solution, drive to a good outcome for the customer. Development likewise needs strong actionable views of what you’re going to build and also for you to help maybe facilitate the interface between development and design, which is really important. And in partnership with project management, they will develop working software in small increments that you can test. And with a nice clear view of overall, where the product is headed.
You’ll help them create a technology infrastructure that’s flexible and helps you not only do better on that dimension of feasibility and making things easier to do, but it’ll also help you increase your viability, your economic performance. And the consulting and support team, they need a view of the touch points for the customer what the experience is, and they will bring you back views of what’s happening. Consulting and support is your tool to smooth out bumps in the customer journey. You need to make sure that even if they’re having to smooth those out, you eventually remove them in the core product in the core product experience. That’s what a healthy interface with this group will deliver you.
Sales and marketing needs an understanding of product market fit. Who is our customer, and why are they buying this product? Or you’re launching a new feature, why is that important? What have you learned? You should have at least one customer and probably several depending on the type of product you have where you are able to say to them this is who loves this thing, here’s the evidence, here’s the story, now pour fuel on the fire and scale up that product market fit. And you want to create an interface with them where you are continually refining that understanding of product market fit and how to amplify it through the channels you have.
Financing legal where I hope you understand the business from a viability standpoint, an economic standpoint, legal will help you avoid pitfalls. With management you need to get an understanding from them about what the strategy is, so that they can give you a nice, clear view of how you can stay aligned with it. That’s going to give you the autonomy that you need to iteratively pursue the right solution and the freedom of action you need to be a creative innovative product manager.
And finally design needs a direction and they will really help you work through a lot of these questions of how you iterate on that dimension of desirability and get all this information you need to pass on to the rest of your team to drive to that really successful intersection of desirability, feasibility, and viability.

In this video, Alex explains how an organization looks at a customer from different angles from different teams: Data Science, Project Management, Development, Consulting & Support, Sales & Marketing, Finance & Legal, Management, and Design. As a product manager, how would you convey a customer’s needs to such a wide variety of players?

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Digital Product Management

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