What’s your product?

Are you ever jolted awake at night, fearful about how much you don’t know about the digital products you work on? Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But, as Digital Product professionals, we know Information technology can get messy. The big picture can get lost, or hard to find.

Once things get moving with your product, internal visibility and awareness about your products and what they are supposed to do for customers can get put on the back burner. The “most important things” become primary and need to be addressed first and foremost. But what are the important things? How do you know they’re the most important?

The answers to questions like these can get fuzzy:

Answers to these questions and the deeper details are sometimes hidden, compartmentalized, or simply unknown.

One way to get a better understanding of the products and features that you’re offering customers and users is to profile your products. This can be as simple as creating a template that defines all of the various attributes of your products. This is your chance to be like Batman, to fight for justice, to do the detective work, and to do what is right for your product. Go you! Ok, I’m getting dramatic again.

You can start capturing things like this for each product:

Once you have your product profile content established - which can simply be one PowerPoint slide that links out to other resources - then you can then plug in personas. Personas are a topic for another article, but they can help capture the characteristics of the main people using your products.

The result is that your organization will have a centralized location for all product profiles that allows all teams to see across the landscape of your product offerings. This can begin the conversation of where there might be overlap and can highlight opportunities for optimization and innovation, market position, and a better understanding of what the product is and the people that use it. You could even evolve this into a living and breathing dashboard, with some real time data visualizations plugged in.

Many organizations don’t take the time to pause and assess what products they are putting out. Things get lost. Many product teams are moving at two, three, or four week intervals. Taking time to work out the details of your products and giving them a personality can empower your organization to reduce waste and identify opportunities to innovate. This can certainly bring fresh awareness of the solutions you're offering and how they are being delivered.

Now, close your eyes, and imagine your teammates clapping and crying for joy as you unveil all of the juicy tidbits your product has to offer, and all of the possibilities yet untapped. Go get 'em you!