Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

The Art of Execution #2.7 Working Backwards


Published on

  • Login to see the comments

  • Be the first to like this

The Art of Execution #2.7 Working Backwards

  1. 1. The Art of Execution ! Working Backwards Innovation and Entertainment Technology ! John Pisciotta Creative Entertainment Technology 20010 EIS2350.01 ! MIKE CURB COLLEGE OF ENTERTAINMENT AND MUSIC BUSINESS !
  2. 2. Working Backwards Ian McAllister, General Manager at Amazon ! There is an approach called "working backwards" that is widely used at Amazon. We try to work backwards from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it. While working backwards can be applied to any specific product decision, using this approach is especially important when developing new products or features. ! For new initiatives a product manager typically starts by writing an internal press release announcing the finished product. The target audience for the press release is the new/updated product's customers, which can be retail customers or internal users of a tool or technology. Internal press releases are centered around the customer problem, how current solutions (internal or external) fail, and how the new product will blow away existing solutions. ! If the benefits listed don't sound very interesting or exciting to customers, then perhaps they're not (and shouldn't be built). Instead, the product manager should keep iterating on the press release until they've come up with benefits that actually sound like benefits. Iterating on a press release is a lot less expensive than iterating on the product itself (and quicker!). ! If the press release is more than a page and a half, it is probably too long. Keep it simple. 3-4 sentences for most paragraphs. Cut out the fat. Don't make it into a spec. You can accompany the press release with a FAQ that answers all of the other business or execution questions so the press release can stay focused on what the customer gets. My rule of thumb is that if the press release is hard to write, then the product is probably going to suck. Keep working at it until the outline for each paragraph flows. ! Oh, and I also like to write press-releases in what I call "Oprah-speak" for mainstream consumer products. Imagine you're sitting on Oprah's couch and have just explained the product to her, and then you listen as she explains it to her audience. That's "Oprah- speak", not "Geek-speak". ! Once the project moves into development, the press release can be used as a touchstone; a guiding light. The product team can ask themselves, "Are we building what is in the press release?" If they find they're spending time building things that aren't in the press release (overbuilding), they need to ask themselves why. This keeps product development focused on achieving the customer benefits and not building extraneous stuff that takes longer to build, takes resources to maintain, and doesn't provide real customer benefit (at least not enough to warrant inclusion in the press release).
  3. 3. Working Backwards Heading: Sub-Heading: Summary: Problem: Solution: Quote from you: How to get started: Customer Quote: Closing and Call to Action: Name the product in a way the reader (i.e. your target customers) will understand. Describe who the market for the product is and what benefit they get. One sentence only underneath the title. Give a summary of the product and the benefit. Assume the reader will not read anything else so make this paragraph good. Describe the problem your product solves. Describe how your product elegantly solves the problem. A quote from a spokesperson in your company. Describe how easy it is to get started. Provide a quote from a hypothetical customer that describes how they experienced the benefit. Wrap it up and give pointers where the reader should go next.
  4. 4. CarZar: Uber for car repairs Twice as fast, a third of the price, twice the service Why CarZar? “Average length of U.S. vehicle ownership hit an all-time high” -KBB When do people use CarZar? Satisfies a market of individuals who need convenient, on-site maintenance to replace costly, inconvenient in-shop repairs. Where is CarZar used? CarZar provides the consumer a shopping experience for consumers to find qualified mechanics to repair their vehicle at home instead of finding a local repair shop. Who uses CarZar? Consumers have less time to take care of certain needs including car maintenance. Current solutions require tow trucks, long waits at repair shops and more time out of the day than consumers have. How it works: CarZar is an app that avoids many of these problems by allowing the consumer to shop for a qualified mechanic to perform maintenance on-site without having to take more time out of the consumers day. “The automotive industry has been slow to adapt technology as a means to bring serious change for more convenient maintenance. CarZar makes that difference.” Simply download the app from app stores or online at Create a personal account and begin searching for local, available mechanics in your area and schedule your repair. Why People Love it? “I have less and less time every day to get things done. Car repair slows my entire life down in an instant. Thanks to CarZar I have lost less time to manage the rest of my responsibilities.” Download our free app and learn more about what CarZar can do for you. Visit and follow us on facebook.
  5. 5. ! The Art of Execution Innovation and Entertainment Technology ! John Pisciotta Creative Entertainment Technology 20010 EIS2350.01 ! ! MIKE CURB COLLEGE OF ENTERTAINMENT AND MUSIC BUSINESS ! @johnpisciotta