From Tears to Triumph: How AI is Changing the Game for Product Development | by Vitalijus Lykovas | Jan, 2023
Hello, fellow problem solvers and tech enthusiasts!
Today, I will talk about something sure to shake up the industry: artificial intelligence and the future of product management.
But before we dive in, let’s take a step back and answer the question on everyone’s mind: what exactly has happened? You have already been bombarded by flashy headlines about ChatGPT, DALL-E, Whisper, Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and countless other groundbreaking innovations. Well, with all of this, we are surely knocking on the door of the next phase of the technological revolution.
Thanks to OpenAI, we finally have an AI that can understand and use human language. This makes it the Swiss Army knife of the digital world, where only your imagination is the limit of what you can do with it. And this is just a warm-up before the next version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT goes public. A mind-blowing upscale from GPT 3 with 175 billion parameters to GPT 4 with 100 trillion parameters
Are we ready for a series of disruptions happening before our eyes across almost all industries? Probably not yet, and getting ready will be a swift and painful process for many industries. But will this bring us a brighter future? Time will tell, but my inner optimist sees limitless potential and so many opportunities that it causes my brain to freeze while deciding where to begin.
With the help of AI-assisted tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney, and others, we’re seeing a significant shift in how we approach product development. So, what does this mean for product management? Well, the short answer is “a lot.” These tools change every step of the process, from finding problems worth solving to researching the market to prototyping and testing. And, as product managers, it’s our responsibility to stay informed and adapt to these changes to stay ahead of the game.”
Changes to the Problem-Solving Process
Product development is a tricky business; it’s all about finding problems that are worth solving and coming up with solutions that people actually want. But it can be hard to know what problems are worth solving and what solutions will be successful. Not to mention the time and money required to complete the entire cycle before receiving your first market feedback. Competition among the great minds of the world is ruthless, which is why it rarely matters if you are 2nd or 5th in the market, because the winner usually takes it all, leaving the scrapes for the rest.
There are a lot of ideas about how to build a successful product, but in my humble opinion, based on my blood, sweat, and tears, there is only one easy-to-understand but hard-as-hell-to-implement principle: having a shorter cycle from idea to first meaningful feedback on your MVP’s main hypothesis than your competitors.
So, in other words, shortening the product development cycle is becoming even more important than ever before.
I know I’m oversimplifying things, but for the sake of expressing the point, let’s just agree for now that creating products consists of two major stages that are being iterated in a closed loop:
- Define a point of view
For those interested in reading more about Design Thinking and tools on how to navigate it, I highly recommend “The Design Thinking Playbook”.
So, for many product teams, it takes a lot of sweat, tears, time, and money to figure out which of their many great ideas to test by putting in place and testing multiple solutions should come first.
And that’s where AI-assisted tools (such as ChatGPT and others) come in. They help product teams spend more time figuring out what problems are worth solving instead of getting stuck in complex development trying to prove that they are worth solving. With these tools, teams can quickly and easily do research on the market and customers, come up with ideas and concepts, and even build prototypes of solutions and test them. This allows teams to focus on the most promising ideas and get to market faster with a validated solution that customers actually want.
Do you already have some raw data about your target market and/or customer to start with? If yes, awesome! You can ask A.I. to identify patterns and trends, analyze customer feedback, conduct surveys, analyze market trends, and provide insights that can inform product development decisions. Ask A.I. to stimulate customer interactions and predict customer behavior.
Based on the information gathered, the next step is usually to make a Persona profile, which is a made-up character that represents a certain part of your target audience. No problem, and the AI-assisted tools already available today can just generate all the vital information for your team: demographic information, behavior patterns, goals, and pain points. Putting together a Persona profile will help you learn more about your target audience and meet their needs with your product or marketing plan.
Some of you know how much time it takes to prepare, gather, and map out the basic information for a Customer Journey. This process will also save you time by allowing you to begin identifying customer experience pain points and opportunities for improvement.
Once you’ve identified the problems you want to solve and researched your market and customers, the next step is to come up with solutions. This is where the creative process starts: coming up with ideas, trying out concepts, and coming up with new ways to solve problems. But coming up with good ideas can be hard, and it’s easy to get stuck.
From now on, brainstorming sessions will be different because A.I. can get you started by already proposing 10, 15, or 20 ideas for solving a problem. How many do you need? Well, as many as possible in a prioritized way so that I can test most of them. Choosing a solution used to be a big deal because it meant devoting your money and time to building a working prototype that you hoped would at least partially address your needs.
Gluing it all together
You’ve hopefully found the right problem that’s worth solving, and you’ve tested your theory by putting an MVP out there. Now what? What business model should I stick to? What are the options? The process of coming up with a business model is also long and creative. It is helped by the insights you’ve gained from the data you’ve collected so far. No problem. Artificial intelligence (AI) will come up with and rank the best business models for you.
As product managers and developers, we’re always looking for ways to streamline our processes and make them more efficient. And that’s exactly what will happen. It only depends on how fast you are. The AI-powered tools are so powerful that they can help us speed up the development process in ways we never thought possible.
Think about it: imagine being able to quickly generate high-quality code, test it in real-time, and make adjustments on the fly. All of this is now possible. Not only that, but it can also help us with prototyping and testing, making it easier to identify and fix bugs and other issues early on in the development process.
But it’s not just about efficiency and speed; A.I. will also help us improve the overall design of our products.
In short, ChatGPT, Midjourney, and other A.I.-assisted tools are game changers for product development. It is changing the way we do everything, from solving problems to making prototypes and testing them. As product managers and developers, it’s important for us to keep up with this technology and find ways to use it in our work. The future of product development is here, and A.I. is leading the way.
I can’t stop writing about this. 😀 I want to share a personal story. Two of my sons, ages 10 and 12, began asking about what it would take to start their first business. I skipped all the Design Thinking mumbo jumbo and just asked them point blank, “What do you want to do?” Well, they like manga a lot, and they had an idea to sell manga hoodies online for kids. So I did not want to miss a learning opportunity for them, and we started exploring how we could get the business idea validated. Just over the weekend, we had our first hoody design sketches, website design, target customer profile, and manufacturer.
Of course, there is much more to be done, validated, and learned before it is live, but just to make my point, now certain steps of building a product or service become just a fraction of the cost and can be done very quickly. This allows you to focus on the aspects of the business that differentiate you from others.