The Agile Art of Brushstrokes

June 5, 2023


Finding the right path to meet user needs and achieve business goals can feel like navigating uncharted territory. But by embracing a hypothesis-driven perspective and an agile brushstrokes approach to product management, we can navigate the uncertainty and derisk user and business outcomes. In this post, I aim to convey the significance of adopting a brushstrokes approach to product success where taking small, calculated steps without presuming to have all the answers takes precedence over big reveals. I'll also emphasize the value of treating clients as partners rather than service seekers, and sharing the magic of this mindset fosters collaboration, ensures diversity in gaining market insights, and ultimately, leads to better outcomes.

The Hypothesis-Driven Brushstrokes Mindset:
Imagine an artist working on a masterpiece. They don't aim to create a masterpiece in one swift stroke. Instead, they meticulously craft their vision, layer by layer, brushstroke by brushstroke. Similarly, in product development, focusing on small, incremental improvements allows us to derisk outcomes and ensure we are on the right track. By embracing this mindset, we focus on incremental progress and avoid the pitfalls of big reveals. This approach allows us to learn, iterate, and adjust along the way, ensuring that our path to success is guided by insights and informed decisions rather than presumptions.

Prioritizing User Value:
A product's success is intrinsically tied to its ability to address user needs effectively. By embracing a brushstrokes approach, we place paramount importance on delivering real user value. This means prioritizing features and functionalities that directly address market needs and resonate with the end users. This iterative process allows for constant user feedback, enabling us to make informed course corrections and adapt the product accordingly.

The Risk of Big Reveals:
In the world of product development, big reveals often generate excitement and anticipation. However, they also carry significant risks. When a product is developed in secrecy and revealed as a finished product, it leaves little room for user feedback and adaptation. This approach can result in misaligned user expectations and missed opportunities for improvement. Instead, frequently involving users and experts from within the business and the market throughout the build process ensures product development doesn’t go radically off trajectory.

Collaboration, the Key to Success:
Gone are the days of solitary explorers claiming to have all the answers. Today, product development is a collaborative adventure where everyone's unique perspective matters. By treating clients as partners, not just customers, we transform how we approach product development. This mindset encourages active involvement from all stakeholders, harnessing their expertise and insights. Working together with clients, and the user of their solutions, we tap into market knowledge, identify growth opportunities, and ensure the product will fit the market need. Together, we navigate the path to success, adapt to changes, and make informed decisions based on the insights we gather along the way.

In summary, focusing on user and business outcomes is key to creating successful, impactful products. By adopting a brushstrokes approach, we prioritize user value, derisk outcomes, remain adaptable throughout the process, and approach product management with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Moreover, treating clients as partners rather than mere customers strengthens collaboration, market insights, and overall success.

Remember, the answers may not always be crystal clear from the start, but with each calculated brushstroke, we uncover valuable insights and propel ourselves closer to the desired user and business outcomes. Let's embark on this journey together, celebrating the beauty of iterative progress and the thrill of discovery.

Photo by Tim Aterbury