Product Design, Personal Finance and Productvity

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What is Product Design?

This is simply a process that generates ideas through which a product can be created to be sold by any business to its customers. There are 2 terms that are important in this concept:-

Product Design” – includes properties of the product to be designed like its form & Function and how to integrate form with function. Here, a designer needs to pay attention to color, tone, shape & size of the product as a buyer is always directed by their thoughts which are in turn based on these attributes.

Product Design Process” – includes the list of all activities that will be used to create a product. This has various steps

  1. Analyze – A designer need to commit to a project & the final solution. A research is conducted (usually in teams) to figure out how to tackle the problems arising in the project. This is where the group finds the problems of the project & constraints under which they need to work.
  2. Concept – Here the problems are converted to project objectives & restraints are converted to project parameters.
  3. Synthesis – First part here it to ideate. Brainstorm many different ideas that can accomplish each project objective. Second part is to narrow down the ideas that can give the best success. Third part is to implement it. This is where a prototype is built.
  4. Evaluate – Last step is where we test this prototype and make improvements to in. We can go back to do any if the previous steps again with this new knowledge and refine the product prototype further.

 

What is the need for new products?

I look at this from 2 points of view. Demand-pull Innovation is facilitated by an opportunity on the market. We can exploit this opportunity by creating a new product.  Then there is invention-push innovation. This happens when there is new invention (as a result of years of research & development).

What is Personal Finance?

How and why do you think product design should be utilized in personal finance?

If we treat personal finance as a design problem we can come up we unique ideas  that can help us gain financial stability & Security. Project design has 4 parts Analyze, Conceptualize, Prototype & Evaluate. Here is what we can do to implement these 4 in personal finance.

  1. Analyze the financial situation: We answer to some basic questions like where were we a year ago financially, where we are today & where we want to be by next year. From this quick research, (it will help if we do this as a team) we figure out how to tackle problems faces and goals that we need to achieve. From product design point of view we finds the problems of the project & constraints under which they need to work.
  2. Concept – After the first part, convert the problems to project objectives. For example, problem is bad debt (need to pay off debt in one year) & constraints are converted to project parameters. For example, constraint is being located in a particular city (= project constraint)
  3. Synthesis – Now brainstorm many different ideas that can accomplish each project objective. Then narrow down the ideas that can give the best success. Next, implement these ideas in a small scale.
  4. Evaluate – Last step is where we test this prototype and make improvements to in. We can go back to do any if the previous steps again with this new knowledge and refine the product prototype further.

 

Tell us a story of how you dealt with a financial obstacle in your personal life.

These are some thing that helped me deal with all obstacles not just financial.
1. I try no make quick decisions based on the knowledge I already have. Many time this knowledge creates obstacles. I try to learn more about the situation before taking further steps.

2. Prepare a table of four quadrants. Imp + Urgent; Not Imp + Urgent; Imp + not Urgent; Not Imp + not urgent. This allows me to get my priorities straight.

Product Design Personal Finance Productivity

3. There is always a risk of getting over confident & excessive optimism. I try to keep this in check always.

4. Always listen to all suggestions and judge them on their merit alone and not on any preconceived notions.

When and where do you find yourself most productive? Why?

I don’t rely on guess work. I  have been using time tracking application for years. This data is consistent between the three software I use – Desk Time, Time Doctor & Rescue Time (best one for personal time tracking) I can safely say my best work times are from 11.00 AM to 2.PM then from 3.15 PM to 5.45 PM.

Product Design Personal Finance Productivity

The reason of my productivity are essentially the time tracking software. I strongly feel that being able to correctly measure & track my time, I can enjoy both work And free time. When I am free, I don’t think/worry about work because I would have already finished priority tasks. When I can working I am fresh from a good healthy time off so I work at my 100%.

If your supply of money was infinite, what would you work on? …and how would you spend your day?

Well, I have a very simply notion. I treat time, money, health, knowledge, skill & emotions as resources. I have devised a system to measure all 6. I spend my day equally improving all Six. If get “more of” one of the resources, I will invest it back in improving the part which is lagging. For example, if I get unlimited money to spend, then I’ll invest it equally in creating more time for my self, invest in health, knowledge, skill & emotions. I will put whatever is surplus into savings as it takes care of my needs, and I am happy to leave something for my kids/loved ones.

 

What is your superpower in the workplace? What is your Kryptonite?

My superpower is being able to measure everything, assign a priority to it and be the most effective I can be.

My only drawback is that I have a very specific work schedule. I have set myself to work in 2 shifts of 4 hours each. I can never get my self to work extra even if my house is on fire. I am trying to change this mind set to be more flexible.

What has been a big “aha” moment when performing customer research?

Every single research unveils something new. So there have been many “aha” moments. But the ones that interest me the most are learning how people think and how human psychology works. This always fascinates me, so anything I learn about human behavior gives me an “aha” moment.

 

What is your favorite aspect of the digital product development process?

I love the fact that there is a method to this process. There is a simple linear progression. One step follows the other. There are no decisions branching off into other processes. I also love the fact that one person is able to be involved from the start to finish. Other jobs and tasks are compartmentalized. A person can only only work within the scope set by the managers. But in this process, I am involved right from inception to prototyping (creating a working model of the product).

 

Why have you started prefr.co now?

This fits in very well with my goals for 2017-2020.

What do you think is the hardest aspect of product management?

I feel product management is a team sport and the hardest part is creating the perfect team for the design process. We need people from following disciplines.

  1. User Researcher – Conducts comprehensive research to help the team better understand the user needs.
  2. Technology head – Will be the senior most person & most experienced on the team. Help the team break complex problems to simple ones. Guides the team based on past experiences and market knowledge.
  3. Designer – A designer will work in 3 areas to design the service, interaction & content.
  4. Developer – Will build good quality apps/software with good code, following latest standards and also test them.
  5. Hacker – To ensure system security, find risks and help manage future security incidents.
  6. Analyst – Will have 2 functions to analyze the performance of the product/service.
  7. Subject Matter Expert – Someone who has a very deep knowledge of the specific field the product/service.
  8. Web Operations Engineer – Will run the production system, help members deploy prototype service/products.
  9. Product & Service manager – Works to create the vision (for the product). S/he also sets the daily priorities that help in fulfilling the vision and ensure team is on track. The Manager will also look into the delivery of digital service/product.

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