Product Management Fundamentals - How can writing cases can help you design a better feature
Updated: Aug 3
When a product manager starts working on a new product, very often he ignores the users and their use cases. He thinks more about the feature - how it will work and look instead of who are the end users of the feature and what do they want. There can be multiple factors contributing to this behaviour - product manager's / business owners' inclination to launch the feature quickly, test an hypothesis and many more. However, not thinking about all the use cases (including edge cases) and always rushing towards MVP can also bring issues related to quality of the feature. It can also add an extra load on the developers to keep on adding use cases to the feature as they come. This creates a big problem in the mobile app ecosystem where each feature requires the app to be upgraded. As not all the users upgrade the app, this means that there are multiple versions of the feature running in production and all the changes need to be planned considering backward compatibility with all the previous versions. Isn't it complex and difficult to manage.
Before the requirements are written and frozen, a product managers should identify two key things:
Who are the users of this feature?
What are their use cases?
There can be three type of users for a product:
Customer - One who pays for the product
User - One who uses the product
Influencer - One who influences the purchase of the product
Identification of all three becomes very important before a product feature is planned.
There can be multiple users for the same feature. Following examples explain multiple users in detail:
Children's Products - Suppose you are a product manager who is designing a one click video play feature on Youtube for children, you need to think of the following users:
In this case, parents or school can be the potential customers.
Healthcare Products - Suppose you are a product manager who is building a feature to record a patient's medical history, you need to think of the following users:
Once the users are identified, next step should be to write down the use cases for each user. We take the same example (Youtube Video) as mentioned above.
One click video for children
Use cases for children
Should be able to select the video in one click
Should be able to replay the video if they want to
Should be able to reach to the viceo listing easily
Should know how to minimize the video (if it plays in full screen)
Use cases for parents
Should be able to shortlist what videos will appear to the kids
Should be able to lock the rest of Youtube access
Should know what are the videos their kids are watching
Should be able to perform all the tasks that the kids should be able to perform (see use cases for children)
Should be able to pay for videos if required - able to use credit card, authentication etc.
Should be able to see when the subscription is ending
Use cases for teachers
Use cases remain pretty much the same as parents except for a few more cases.
Should be able to perform the use cases for multiple kids from the same console
There can be many more use cases which can come up. However I have mentioned a few of them only to demonstrate the process of use case creation.
As we can see, if a product manager starts directly with the design, there is a big possibility that some of the features might get missed out.
Thus the identification of players and use cases become a key ingredient in creating a new product.
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