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As a Product Manager you are often asked to create and maintain a product roadmap. In this post I provide 5 tips that will help you build a successful product roadmap.

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Recently, I have been doing some research about real SaaS metrics from real businesses.

Surprisingly, there are quite a bit of private companies that make their SaaS metrics public.

Here is a selected list with their metrics:

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If you have been in a high growth company, you will know a key challenge is keeping everybody aligned and focused on the right priorities. When companies grow fast so does the number of customer requests, the company appetite for new things that will foster growth even further and the number of new people joining the organization. It is common for organizations going through that process to get confused and messy, get people working on different and sometimes even conflicting priotities and not aligning new people joining the company to achieve a common goal.

Objective and Key Results (OKRs) is a simple business framework for alignment and prioritization. It was invented at Intel and it is used by many companies big and small accross industries. We are talking about companies like Google, Linkedin, Accenture or GoPro.
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Great products are only built by great teams. A great team has the right balance between people focused on discovering what to build and people building it.

By the end of last year I attended a conference where I talked to someone from IBM who told me how they were hiring 1,000 designers to try to get the ratio of designers to engineers to 1 to 10. This prompted me to investigate what was the ratio of product management and design to engineering in some successful companies.

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In this post I’ll explain how to set up a blog with the best performance and security you can get for free for the first year and for less than $1/month afterwards. The setup uses Jekyll to build your blog, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 and CloudFront to host it and serve it to visitors. The first year of AWS will be free (unless you have a huge site with a lot of traffic). After the first 12 months you’ll probably pay less than $1 per month to AWS.

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This is the last article of the Become a Product Hero series. I will focus on usability testing using UserTesting.

So far we have seen how to quickly get to a definition of a product or feature by building wireframes with Balsamiq and how to build an interactive prototype with Sketch and Marvel. Now it is time to validate that what you have designed is easy to use.

Equipped with your product or feature prototype you are ready to start testing with real users to prove they are able to use it to achieve a successful outcome with as little friction as possible. This is called usability testing.

In the old days usability testing was expensive and time consuming. It usually consisted on getting potential users in a lab and watching them as they would use your product to perform a series of tasks.

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In this article we will look at how to create quick prototypes for getting initial feedback using  Sketch and Marvel.

You have created and shared your wireframes with Balsamiq. You have gathered feedback and incorporated into your wireframes. You think you have a pretty good definition of the different screens. Now it’s time to bring life to your wireframes. And we will do it without writing a single line of code!

By bringing life to our wireframes I mean that we will be creating an interactive prototype that will simulate the real application.

Before you start any work you should select what makes sense to include in the prototype. Building prototypes is more complex than building wireframes. Depending on the size of your product or feature, it would make sense to narrow down the scope. If you have to do that, make sure you focus on the main value proposition, that is, the main problem you are trying to address so that you can test and validate that you are providing a great solution to that problem.

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Balsamiq is a simple yet amazing tool for building User Interface sketches (known as wireframes) to effectively materialize your vision about a desktop, web or mobile product/feature and start gathering initial feedback.

Balsamiq tries to replicate the experience of sketching on a notepad and it does it very well. Since it is digital you can build scketches much more efficiently that on paper and feel comfortable that what you are producing will look good and be easy to understand. Some people still prefer drawing their own sketches on paper but that’s not for me.

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In a previous post I explained how to calculate the gross revenue generated by one customer over its lifetime.

In order to calculate the Customer Lifetime Value we need to subtract the direct costs incurred in order to acquire and serve that customer.

Let’s continue with the example of an eCommerce site that sells shoes.

How to compute the costs to acquire and serve a new customer?

In the list of costs you need to include any costs that are incurred to get a new customer or to serve an order. You should compute the variable costs, those that increase with every new customer you acquire and serve and hence can be directly attributed to the customer.

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The key to build a profitable business is as simple as making sure that the revenues generated every month are higher than the costs incurred to generate that revenue.

money

In eCommerce companies the analysis is usually done on a customer basis: the revenue generated by one customer over its lifetime must be higher than the costs incurred to acquire the customer and to deliver the product or service to that customer. This is usually called Customer Lifetime Value or CLV and it is a measure of the gross profit you expect to generate from each customer.

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