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Products Vs Projects

Confused about the difference between a product and a project? Take this test:

  1. do you know the job title of the people who lose sleep over the problem your X solves?
  2. could you buy a list of people with that job title (in whatever industry)? Could you send an email to that list and be reasonably sure they’d know what problem you’re talking about?
  3. if someone bought your product would it meet 80% of their needs out of the box – without customization?
  4. when you discuss features with your team do you talk about this buyer/user and the sleep they lose over not having the feature you are planning to add?
  5. when you discuss features, roadmaps and release schedules do you typically also talk about strategy, goal and vision in the same sentences?

If you answered yes to at least 3 out of 5 of these questions then you are building a product. If not then it’s a project and projects do not scale. Projects do not repeat – at least not as neatly as products. Go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how to change your process, goals, priorities so you can answer yes to all five of the above.

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