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I have been thinking about this article from Eric Ries that was published on TechCrunch. He makes a really strong case for pushing scientific methods into product management  and in particular the use of A/B testing as a means to zoom in on whether a new feature being introduced is actually making the product better or worse according to the metrics of the business. Whilst I am really in line with bringing more robust and rational methods into the product management practice, I am less crazy about A/B testing.

I think there is enormous value in looking at a product with a scientific mind: formulating hypotheses about what may make the product better, making predictions about the product metrics based on these hypotheses, designing experiments to verify these hypotheses, evaluating the results and improving on the hypotheses. Product development becomes part of your experiments. This method can be applied to a range of hypothesis from what can make your existing customers even more satisfied with your product experience, to what new problems could the product solve for your customer, to what changes could be made to improve the product profitability… However the method of the experiment doesn’t have to be A/B or split testing. You have to pick the right format for the experiment to best verify your hypothesis. Some testing method will be better suited to specific types of hypotheses and predictions you may be making.

It would be interesting to continue the thought process and to design a scientific framework for Product Management including maybe a classification of different types of hypotheses and  best practice in designing and setting up experiments to verify them.

Qu’est-ce que tu en penses?

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Just last weekend I finished two books I was reading on parallel: one about the legendary composer Gustav Mahler (Why Mahler from Norman Lebrecht) and the other about the jazz legend John Coltrane (Coltrane – The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff). What struck me was the similarities in the story of these two musical geniuses. Their respective approach to their Work mirrored each other some 50 years apart, and in different worlds and circumstances. Both of their genius was revealed through a tremenduous amount of practice: Gustav used to drive nuts the various orchestras he directed with the level of excellence he demanded in rehearsal, the musician that worked and collaborated with Coltrane were in awe of the amount of practice he got through right till the end of his life. Both Mahler and Coltrane were constantly working to adapt, incorporate and innovate in their pursuit of a music or sound like life itself. There is almost a religious zeal about them. Both musicians demonstrated prodigious physical feats to get their music out, and the response of their audience is described very vividly as creating a deep level of connection.

But the point is that both books are really inspiring whether or not you are a musical buff. And genius is nothing without a huge amount of hard work.

Now I am off to start my Mahler record collections in earnest… and to listen again to “A Love Supreme”.

I have been on various blogging-type platform over the years, sometimes active, sometimes not so much. Basically I would like to share a few thoughts on a variety of topics I am interested and sometime even passionate about. And now for something completely different.

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