Product Manager Checklist

Done done done

Demos and prototypes

MVP and iterate means we have to be ok with changes late in the game vs sticking to the plan. Getting it right is more important.

If your product involves complex automation, don’t hide it entirely. Show what’s actually happening in the product to communicate its value.

Don’t break stuff (customer first) Upgrades seamless Open the hood, show what’s underneath

Product with capital P: all the interfaces API, CLI, GUI. every product team must make sure all those interfaces work

Completely understand the problem before even thinking about a solution.

Product Managers have to use the product every week.

Customer Discovery

This type of user research typically involves meeting with the customer / buyer / decision maker and asking key questions related to business needs, workflow pain points, and issues with current solutions and workflows.

Goal: find 6-8 reference customers (Earlyvangelists) in parallel with discovering and developing the product.


How to identify them - questions to ask them

Their commitment to us

When asking people what they want, always ask what they would give up for it or how much they would pay to find out how valuable it is for them.

More on customer discovery from Marty Cagan at SVPG

Product Discovery

The inconvenient Truths about Product

  1. At least half of our ideas are not going to work
  2. The ones that do require multiple iterations to generate value for the customer

From The Inconvenient Truth About Product

Given these truths, the goal of product discovery is to find a solution that is valuable, usable, and feasible. Continuous and rapid experimentation lets us quickly identify the ideas to invest.

Opportunity Assessment

Start with this to frame the problem for discovery.

  1. What problem are we trying to solve?
  2. For whom are we solving it?
  3. How will we know that we’ve succeeded?

Four Main Questions

  1. Will they buy/use it? (valuable)
  2. Can they use it? (usable)
  3. Can we build it? (feasible)
  4. Will stakeholders support it? (feasible)

1 and 2 are usually done by validating a low fidelity prototype with a few potential customers. 3 can be answered by a (rough) engineering design doc. 4 includes conversations with all internal stakeholders.


  1. Our customers are not able to tell us what to build
  2. We must validate our ideas with actual customers
  3. The most important thing is to establish value
  4. Engineering is hard, but UX is too
  5. Functionality, design, technology, are inherently intertwined
  6. We know most of our ideas won’t work, and those that do require iteration
  7. Our goal is to validate our ideas as quickly and cheaply as possible
  8. We must validate technical feasibility in product discovery, not after
  9. We need to validate with stakeholders in product discovery, not after
  10. An MVP Test (usually prototype) is the main tool for product discovery. The smallest test we can devise to prove an idea or hypothesis. Not an actual product.

How to build and validate a prototype

  1. Use low fidelity prototypes: Invision, Keynote, wireframes, even paper+pen sketches
  2. Put someone in charge of scheduling user tests regularly (monthly, weekly)

More on prototypes

Product Strategy

User Testing

Books and articles on user testing


Be aware but not afraid. If you blindly copy competitors you’re always going to be a step behind, and you don’t know which of their ideas are good or bad. Obsess about your customers instead, listen and identify their problems and solve those that other’s aren’t solving, or aren’t solving well.

Competitive research: read competitor forums to find out weaknesses they aren’t adressing and solve those.