Design thinking may have a lot of definitions, but it is a critical part of product development. The principal focus is understanding who we are creating products for, what their needs and problems are, and how we can solve for them. It puts the focus on the people behind the products, which is important, because we can often get lost in dollars, business value, feature prioritization, costs, technical specs, etc. While these are important, they don't make for splendid experiences.
What is Design Thinking - IDEO really popularized design thinking and human-centered design, so this is a post straight from them on the subject. An enjoyable read.
User Experience is Design Thinking - Another good article on the subject. "In essence, the Design Thinking process is iterative, flexible and focused on collaboration between designers and users, with an emphasis on bringing ideas to life based on how real users think, feel and behave."
The Business Value of Design (Podcast) - You can't be a business without design. It's a matter of how conscious we are about it. Design thinking is a problem-solving approach that is optimized for dealing with uncertainty, and for that reason is a critical tool in the tool belt.
What is Product Design (Podcast) - Eva and I explore product design deeper and discuss its importance to product development.
There is a long-standing debate around whether product managers are the CEO of their products. I've generally taken a nuanced stance in that debate, because it depends. Though over the last few years I lean more toward "yes" because I would prefer that everyone look at themselves as owning the products they work on. That includes not just the product managers, but designers, business analysts, engineers, everyone. We own these things together. Whether they succeed or fail. So we should adopt that attitude.
And while I extend this to everyone involved in a product's development, I feel particularly strongly about it with regards to the leadership trifecta - the product manager, the designer and the engineering lead. They form the group that has to ensure a product's success.
In the book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink sums it up nicely: "Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame."
6 Ways the Product Manager is the CEO of the Product - I wrote this several years ago, and it stands up very well still. Product managers need to own many aspects of their products, from being experts in how it works to empathizing with users and stakeholders.
CEO of the Product Revisited - "The key is that, like the CEO, the product manager needs to have a solid understanding of the many aspects of the business, and assimilate all of this information to make informed decisions." It's not a simple thing. If you think it is, take another look.
How to be the Best Product Manager You Can - I listened to this podcast episode recently. Manu Prasanna, a senior PM at VMware, touches early on the idea of being the CEO and taking ownership of the product. He also talks about being interesting and playing to your strengths.
What is Product Management - In our Product by Design podcast, Eva and I dive into product management, what makes a good product manager, some of the differences between product ownership, project management, and product management.