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Creating Clarity from Chaos by Zillow Product Director
Trend Forecasting - Connecting the Dots Around Us by N26 Head of Product
So dual-track discovery and delivery. This is probably familiar to many of you. The Concept Being Donald Track. Agile the idea that we in product need to not only focus on how to prepare teams for one step ahead for what's coming next in the next sprint or the next quarter but also keep an eye on the horizon. What's further out there? That's going to affect us that we might not know how to make tangible today. And I don't know about you but I found myself more times and I would like to admit with the distribution. That looks a little bit more like that. Not only does it not feel good. It's dangerous and the reason can be exemplified with simple Eisenhower Matrix for things. That are urgent and important. It's not to get buy in from stakeholders or to convince her team. We need to work on something or for you to even figure out what has to be done. These are your incidents for what you might need a post mortem. These are your releases that are coming up and you've got to make a deadline in order to get something through your APP. Regression test not easy to get buying and pretty clear that top priority list for things. That are urgent but not important. This is where the classic product skill delegation comes in is another team equipped to do this better than us. Doesn't their service handle something like that? We try to delegate as much as we can for things that are neither important nor urgent. We tried to get rid of them all together and we might mark them in. Jura ticket as won't do and comment. Please talk to me if you have any questions but for things that are important but not urgent. We don't always take the time and carve the space to focus on them and this is bad because when we don't know what's coming on the horizon we might actually find ourselves working on things that are neither important nor urgent just because they're quick winds and they're easier to understand and to articulate to our teams and so I want to focus today on the upper right quadrant how to carve space for things. That are urgent but important. But not urgent. I believe that product managers can focus on that urgent but not no important but not urgent work by carving space and using trend forecasting tools and techniques in order to future proof their products at Lisa the Barcelona School of Design Engineering where I studied a program on research for design innovation and a cornerstone of that program is in trend forecasting and before. I started that programming. I thought that trend forecasting was basically something like this little more than reading into a crystal ball. Or maybe shaking tea leaves or coffee grounds things that you do on holiday because they're exotic but not necessarily a way to make a case for what you should build next but quieted my inner skeptic and I started to dig into the curriculum and what I found was that the reading materials and the coursework and the projects that is doing in that program or not on the Typical Products Circuit. These are not books that you find tons of medium articles that the tech community talks about all the time. These are things that are a little bit more fringe in nature. And I like to. I found because I realized that trend forecasting is inherently evidence-based with the balance of quant. And I thought that's Kinda like product. Maybe there's a common denominator here that I wasn't expecting and so before we dig into trend. Forecasting tools and techniques that product managers can use. I wanted to share with you. Three things about trends. These are the three things we should know. I don't mistake. Trend with trendy cabbage soup. Diet might be something that you find on a morning talk show but it's probably not here to stay because the next time that some other fad diet roles in this one will be old news not a trend fashion choices. That seem like a great idea in the moment but upon reflection a few years maybe months later you look back at photos like what was I thinking why did I wear that. Not a trend and toys that spike into popularity. Actually the fidget spinner debuted in the early nineties but it claim to fame was in two thousand seventeen in the middle of the year around. May and it didn't even make it through the holiday season. 'cause was old news by by Christmas. Not a trend so don't mistake trend with trendy so what is the trend? Then if it's not the things that capture the headlines of best friends of twenty twenty well it's a manifestation of change and this makes sense when we consider that we would call this a trend line. A trend line moves in a clear direction. And we know where it's going. It's something that articulates to us where things are headed as the impact culture and society and certain industries. And it's no surprise that we'd then would call fidget spinners not a trend that doesn't look like a trend line to me what is a trend. Then looking for a recent example to understand the local market here in the UK is the love for slurp Vietnamese soup. We can see here a steady trend. Yes there are seasonality dips from May to August make sense. You don't want hot soup but FAA shows us that over the last sixteen years. The demand is on the rise at least by search query people being interested in expressing their interest so trends are the sustained manifestation of change and we can notice trends if we look out a bit more carefully for signals signal. It's simple it's an indication of a situation and they can take many different formats. We'll go through some examples. Here's a way luggage. They raised one hundred. Eighty one million bucks through their suzy round so far and they came out founded in two thousand fifteen. They're designing travel luggage for the modern traveler. Smart Design and sleek years later. We see a kickstarter campaign for nomadic backpacks. It raised forty four times. Its intended goal. Sneak on the exterior. You have no idea the functionality. That's hiding within it and Kara sport the pioneer of Ath Leisure bags which are convertible to help people. Mostly women go from gym to work to dinner two drinks. Now what are these things have in common well? They might seem very disconnected but if we look a little bit closer we can tell that these three examples although at different points in time over the last five and a half years show us that there's huge consumer and investor appetite in hyper functional but really elegant products. You would have no idea what's inside because it looks so nice. And so back to the Great. Formatting how can we use trend forecasting tools and techniques at twenty six to make sure that we we build important but not urgent work at an twenty-six so I'm not going to walk you through all of the different frameworks. We use many of them. Should be familiar to you here. In this room marking jobs to be done understanding them through hypotheses. But what I will talk you. Through is five tools and techniques that we used in trend forecasting and the first one is sorting out those signals. So if we receive signals from all these different places around us. If you're slack looks anything like mine in my teams. You're constantly sharing articles things interesting. Check this out such and such just raise money or such and such just got acquired. It's hard to capture that and make sense of it and if we want to be present in our meetings and dive into our focused work then we can't just read everything that comes to us right away but it's not just about what share with you. It's also the things that you go out and find for yourself so looking what's up. What'S UP ON PRODUCT HUNT? What's gaining traction there or even traditional publication? What's the headline news today? The market's hit a record high. These are all signals. And if we aren't careful they can become noise so we use a pretty low tech technique here which is just creating. Trello board organized by Category. Where we store what's going on so in the actual truecard. We have links so we can go back to it and find the details but we organize them by their headlines and this is great because we can go back at will. We don't have to scour the internet or review. Which Slack Channel. Did Somebody share that with me. We can just take a look here and easily. Organize everything now that we've gathered those signals and we've organize them a bit more systematically. We can identify relevant trends. I'm going to walk you through some examples of the things that might seem tonight. I are focusing on right now. Last Fall American Express released. Its new green card packed with a slew of new benefits. It's also made of recycled ocean. Plastic at least for the most part and for that package of new benefits. They've raised the price fifty percent for the subscription month later bunk out of the Netherlands. They launched their own green card ninety nine years a year subscription and for every hundred bucks you spend. They plant a tree within two months. They planted forty thousand trees. Really Cool and the most extreme example up here is a carbon control. Card launched a think tank in Sweden called economy in partnership with the UN climate. Change Secretariat and Mastercard.