Favourite Tools

Our favourite product development tools and techniques

We all need a solid arsenal of tools to support our workflows. Fortunately, we’ve developed a full series shortlist of our favourite product design tools to have in your toolkit to help you on your journey.

We’ve narrowed the field down to six that cover all the major bases and you can listen to bite sized, snack-able introductions to them on our BottomUp Podcast Series:

  • Using Lean Hypothesis for better product strategy
  • Using 5 Dysfunctions Pyramid for better product strategy
  • Using Full Marketing Funnel for better product strategy
  • Using Rapid Prototyping for better product strategy
  • Designing User Journeys for better products
  • Using an Agile Sprint Plan for better products 

Each has a short little descriptor so if you’ve never heard of them before, you can get a quick idea of their offering and an insight into how they can help you!

If you want to learn more, you can join us at BottomUp Skills Courses and enjoy the full stack of deep, rich, content for product designers, developers or marketing teams and learn Design Thinking, Agile, Lean and much more with free skill courses for product people at BottomUp Skills.

For teams that are constantly creating together, testing products together and always need new fresh ideas subscribe to the BottomUp Podcast for weekly new skills for innovators. 

The right combination of tools gives product designers their true power to realize their ideas and get things in motion.

Enjoy!

Using Lean Hypothesis for better product strategy

The Lean Hypothesis is a concise product idea statement that can be separated into testable factors. It’s a great way to be clear about a product idea. Furthermore, you can break it down into discreet testable areas. The related tool that will provide inputs to your Hypothesis is the Value Proposition Canvas, another lean-inspired tool we recommend.

Using Lean Hypotheses for better product strategies is one of many of the goodies that come from the lean startup practice.

Immortalized by Eric Reese. Now the hypothesis that comes with the lean practice is a concise product ideas statement that can actually be separated into individual parts. And those parts can be tested. It’s a great way to be clear about a product idea, when you’ve got that famous question from someone, hey, what’s, what’s this idea you have for a product?

Lean Hypothesis is a great way of being disciplined and concise about the idea. What the hypothesis actually does is create these very discrete testable factors inside of the statement. So you can actually test each and every one of them. And a great way to populate a lean hypothesis is to use another great tool from the lean startup practice, which is the value proposition canvas.

 

Using 5 Dysfunctions Pyramid for better product strategy

Building a good product team from day one is critical. And the work by Patrick Lencioni on the 5 Dysfunctions of a team is the perfect guide to ‘how’ a team should behave. Using Rapid Prototyping for better product strategy.

It is the perfect guide on how your team should behave when they’re going about creating an idea or whether they’re building a product or anywhere in between. This tool is indispensable. 

What I would propose to you is that if you don’t have a great team, if you don’t have a tool that you can look at. That can provoke you and nudge you to think about the best design of your team. Not only on the work that they do, but how they do it, then it doesn’t matter.

You must have the right alignment connection. 
You cannot really entertain product development or product discovery without looking at team design simultaneously. The way in which we collaborate is a huge dependency of any good thinking and a clear indication of good results.
 

Using Full Marketing Funnel for better product strategy

Traditional marketing is obsessed with the reach and frequency of customer acquisition. The entire funnel follows the whole user journey and focuses on conversion between stages.

One of our favourite product strategy tools. The full marketing funnel is sometimes called the growth marketing funnel.

It has all sorts of nicknames, but the main goal is focusing on all stages of the funnel from A to Z. The reason this matters so much is that traditional marketing is often obsessed with just the very top of the funnel, customer acquisition. So the key thing that traditional marketing is all about is reach and frequency, blasting the message to as many people as many times as possible.

However, what we’ve seen the emergence of is a fully integrated entire funnel approach. Which has been brought by the movement focusing around growth hacking and growth marketing. And what it does is it follows the whole user journey. Completely. It focuses on the conversion between the steps.

So not only are you looking at the big picture, very broad, but then you also go deep. Which is what’s so great about the marketing funnel. As a tool, you get into the nitty-gritty of conversion optimization, testing and validation. So the reason this growth marketing funnel matters so much is it really helps you go way beyond traditional marketing to ensure that marketing is contributing to a healthy business.

 

Using Rapid Prototyping for better product strategy

I am a big fan of Rapid Prototyping my early-stage product ideas. This activity is an emerging practice with few published best practices, so I created a 5 step plan for conducting a rapid prototyping session with users.

We are huge fans of rapid prototyping. 

It’s so useful in those early moments of creating something new, it can be so insightful to actually create a prototype test that we’d use to gain some very early stage feedback. 

We often find that people get lost when they’re prototyping. So we created a guide so that you can get the most out of what can be such a powerful process. So before we dive into this, a five step plan that I have, let’s set the scene, let’s define rapid prototyping.

So rapid prototyping is an amazingly good way to test and validate. Idea a notion. It could be a product, a service or a business is a great way to test it before you actually have to build it. And that’s the big aha. You don’t have to build an entire product before you test!

You can test from day one and it’s a particularly good way to learn. That’s using rapid prototyping. 

 

Designing User Journeys for better products

At the heart of Design Thinking is the tool of the user journey. It’s a challenging tool because it forces you to empathise with the user from the start to the end of their task. This user journey is an essential tool for any designer, developer, or entrepreneur.

It’s a challenging tool because it really is a forcing factor.

It makes you empathize with your user and it’s not just at the start of their journey, but right through the middle and the end too. And this user journey is an essential tool for any designer, developer and entrepreneur. 

How does the user journey start? How do we keep it going? And how do we wrap it up with a bow on the top? So this user journey is essential to understand, and the tool of creating a user journey is a true art form. There’s a lot of work that goes into a good user journey and it kind of comes at it totally from the user’s point of view. What a great place to start!

Using an Agile Sprint Plan for better products

This is the sixth part, the sixth installment of our favorite tools for making better products.

Agile Scrum is a go-to software development approach for anyone who likes to hit a deadline. The sprint plan is a beautifully simple way to create a roadmap for getting a product team to work together.

And this is at the cornerstone of doing agile, scrum work and working in an agile way. And the sprint plan is the go-to place If you want to work in an agile way, it really starts with a sprint plan. 

We’ll explain what this is and why it’s a fundamental tool for you to work in a really new way. It’s a simple and straightforward way to get your agile projects closer to deadline.

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