A Little Product Thinking for Technicians

Introduction: As a front-line developer, have you all experienced the experience of arguing with the product, and even in the end, no one can convince anyone, and can only escalate the problem. In the end, the boss came forward to solve it, and in most cases, the boss can really solve it in some way, and it is a solution acceptable to both parties. At this time, most students may think that it is the authority of the boss, and the status leads to this result. In fact, this is very inaccurate (there may be some reasons, but definitely not the main reason). In fact, it is more that each boss has stronger product power than front-line development, and can understand each other's demands, grasp the contradictions and give solutions. . At the same time, the way of expression in it is easier for each other to accept, which leads to the boss you see in the end, and the problem is solved. So where does this important ability come from? In fact, I think it is more of a way of thinking about products.
Author| Xingxi

【A Little Product Thinking for Technicians】What is product thinking?

As a front-line developer, have you all experienced the experience of arguing with the product, and even in the end, no one can convince anyone, and can only escalate the problem. In the end, the boss came forward to solve it, and in most cases, the boss can really solve it in some way, and it is a solution acceptable to both parties. At this time, most students may think that it is the authority of the boss, and the status leads to this result.

In fact, this is very inaccurate (there may be some reasons, but definitely not the main reason). In fact, it is more that each boss has stronger product power than front-line development, and can understand each other's demands, grasp the contradictions and give solutions. . At the same time, the way of expression in it is easier for each other to accept, which leads to the boss you see in the end, and the problem is solved. So where does this important ability come from? In fact, I think it is more of a way of thinking about products.

From here, we can see that product thinking is a way of thinking to continuously obtain maximum value through scientific methodology, but it may be a bit empty to say this. In the product iteration based on daily product technology, I would like to say the following forms of product thinking.

【A Little Product Thinking for Technicians】Why do technologists need product thinking?

Limitations of Technical Perspectives

1. I feel that the demand raised by the product is meaningless, does not help the business, and is a tasteless demand;
2. Why does the demand for the product in question change every day? greatly reduce work efficiency;
3. I feel that the idea of the product is imaginative and unprofessional. The feasibility of the system is not considered at all, and it is basically impossible to implement it;
4. I feel that the product plan is not comprehensive at all, and such obvious logical loopholes have not been considered;

In your daily work, as a programmer, have you often heard the above complaints? In fact, a small number of products may indeed be immature due to experience, but have you thought about it more because of product thinking and engineers? The collision of thinking leads to different perceptions of the same thing, and it is difficult to understand when starting from their own perspectives. First, let’s look at a set of comparisons between product thinking and technical thinking.

For example: Hema warehousing products reviewed the needs of a live warehouse for out-of-box by box before. The general idea is to directly manage the in-out and out-of-box management of live and fresh commodities (such as fish, crabs, etc.). But here are several inevitable problems if starting from the engineer's thinking:

1. The scenario of box in and out did not exist in Hema's storage system before, and it is unknown whether it is feasible or not (HOW, technology first);
2. The whole link must be adapted to this transformation, and the transformation point will be very large and difficult to achieve (pay attention to details, solutions);
3. For scenarios with less or more stock, inventory reconciliation involving upstream and downstream links will be very troublesome, and cannot be aligned at all in extreme scenarios (perfect plot);

In response to these problems, the R&D side made a request for feedback, and agreed to review the product business alignment plan and risks again. But from a product point of view the angle is a completely different scenario:

1. The box in and out did not exist before, which does not mean that it will not exist now or in the future. This is a business scenario that is really needed offline, and Hema's warehousing needs to expand such capabilities (WHY, user value);
2. The construction period of the full-link transformation is large, and the construction period can be sorted out for normal scheduling iteration (iterative thinking);
3. The abnormal scene is a small probability event, and the advance advancement of the entire project cannot be affected by the small probability event. The real small amount of abnormal data is covered by the business itself. (Overall view, completion is more important than perfection);

Here, due to the different perspectives of products and technologies, it will bring natural conflicts. After emotions are brought in, it will be difficult to understand where the other party's demands and problems are, and whether there is a relatively reliable solution after combining the two. plan. Here, if the technicians change their perspective and use product thinking to respond to this demand, would it be more appropriate to communicate in this way?

1. Recognizing box in and out is a new capability, which can be expanded after the product determines the business value. It is also a supplement to the inventory capacity of the existing warehousing system.
2. Inform the product that the product has psychological expectations, and the cost of the full-link transformation plan will be relatively high and the time-consuming will be relatively long. See if you can accept it, and if you can't, try an intermediate solution.
3. If the technology side invests a lot of cost to transform the link, the product and business need to recognize the technical value and input-output ratio of the matter.

When using this method to communicate, it will clearly tell the problems and concerns on the technical side of the product, so that when both parties recognize the value and necessity of this demand, they will move forward together synchronously. Going back to this example, in fact, if the programmer has product thinking, you can think about problems from the perspective of the product, it is easier to communicate and collaborate with the product team to cultivate a more harmonious working relationship, and it is more conducive to improve work efficiency.

【A Little Product Thinking for Technicians】The advantages of technicians after improving product strength

Let's take a look at what work advantages it can bring to technicians in addition to easier communication if technology has product thinking?

The abstraction ability is believed to be more or less common in everyone who does technology, and is often used in writing code. But abstracting based on existing content and abstracting for the future are two completely different abilities. When technicians have a product perspective, it will be easier to discover abstract perspectives and express abstract concepts. For example, I recently received a product request for the weighing of the warehouse processing intelligent scale (record the weight of the raw materials during the processing through the system). If the simple abstraction may be that the weighing task can be weighed for raw materials and finished products. If you have product thinking after communicating with the product, you will ask what problem does this weighing mainly solve? Which step is the action in the actual operation?

At this time, you may think of a process in combination with the MES system, which will abstract a process task. But let’s consider the expression here again, should we make everyone more aware of what the process is? Here, it is natural to compare whether the practical operations such as finishing, filming, labeling, etc. can be expressed through the process, and then combined with the scene of his application, such a future-oriented process model can gradually settle down, and it is also convenient for future expansion ( Interested students can also learn how the essence loading unit in the lower warehouse conducts unified induction and precipitation in the face of the past, and how it abstracts and expands in the future. This is a very classic abstract example).

Cultivating thinking ability, improving perspective, it is easier to see the essence of the problem. Everyone think about whether they mostly start from these three perspectives when they have product thinking to express the fundamental attributes of things visually:

1. Give a clear definition;
2. Make accurate simple analogies;
3. Make a good analogy;

You have always had such a habit in your work that when you encounter difficulties, you will hold your thoughts in your own hands instead of giving them to others. This is a tiring thing at the moment, but it is very refreshing for the future. Keeping a certain curiosity and imagination to think will allow you to gain more growth. There is a classic line in the movie "The Godfather": "The person who spends half a second to see the essence of things is destined to have a completely different fate from the person who spends a lifetime to see the essence of things clearly".

Better big picture, what does better big picture mean here for technologists?

1. First of all, of course, improve the proficiency of the system, not only for the modules you are currently responsible for, but also for the upstream and downstream links of the system you are responsible for. This will give you more opportunities to take on bigger responsibilities.
2. Clearly know the need to do this, the value of this project, and know why to do it, rather than simply executing the machine. They will think about the necessity of demand from issues such as demand rationality and input-output ratio.
3. It is easier to know how to reflect the value, know what the focus of the project is, know how to deposit data, and explain and achieve goals from a systematic perspective.

4. Better create business value-added through technology. If technical students have product power, it will be easier to find optimization points in the product and create a lot of business value.

For example: the grid warehouse was previously preferred to re-allocate the delivery containers of the central warehouse to the site. The technical side found that the distribution relationship of the goods in the container can be disrupted (the overall distribution relationship remains unchanged) to reduce the number of allocations. . This small technical point alone reduces the number of on-site allocations in the grid warehouse by 12%. Another example: In the past, B2C warehouses used to pick and broadcast while picking up a SKU and enter the aisle once. If there are multiple SKUs in the aisle, it needs to be turned back several times; Product experience, abstract classification of the two actions of general picking and distribution . The method of general picking and then allocating in a unified way avoids the problem of multiple round trips of pickers under the method of cross-use of general picking and allocation, and improves the efficiency of on-site pickers by 14%.

【A Little Product Thinking for Technicians】How to improve product power

change of thinking

At different stages of thinking, there must be progress in our perspective on problems. Able to adapt to changes in the specific presentation layer and abstract the underlying concepts and capabilities (for example, the complex evolution of the warehouse system is more about the continuous evolution of production capacity & human efficiency & cost & digitization) To constantly exercise your thinking habits, so as to improve the boundaries of thinking. Recently, I was reading a book on product law and made some notes. I think the following points are worthy of our technical personnel’s attention and continuous learning and improvement on the way of thinking:

•Essential thinking : First principles start from scratch, using only the most basic facts as a basis, and then deduce layer by layer to reach a conclusion. Aside from how others did it, how did you get a different perspective in the past (rejecting being influenced by the design of similar products and not understanding the design of similar products are two different things ) The serial questioning method is a means to clarify past ideas and key links , to help make quick judgments and generate new ideas.

•Relative thinking : sunlight and shadows, making something bright is not necessarily to enhance its brightness, but to reduce the surrounding environment. This is a reverse thinking. Success and failure, advantages and disadvantages are temporary and relative concepts. Two important angles to look at: relationship and time

•Abstract thinking : idiots and gods, there will be conflicts between looking at problems from a high-level abstract perspective and looking at problems at the user's instinct level. If you look at different parts, it is a more important ability to switch. The concrete and the abstract are like the process of shrinking the points one by one when the plane takes off. Think of new elements (capabilities) rather than new functions, elements can build functions.

•Systems Thinking : The Status of Feedback. The feedback system model is the basic abstract model, which is essentially designing feedback. Misunderstanding All extreme and abnormal paths are small probability phenomena.

•Evolutionary thinking : Designing from the bottom up. Minimalism is the foundation of evolution, and a good framework is focused and flexible.

One small step in reality

Seeing this, you may ask, and the above mentioned so many viewpoints related to soft thinking and methodology. From the perspective of landing, how to improve in normal work? How can you subtly change your thinking?

1. Universal routine : read more books and cultivate your own knowledge reserve; make more summaries and express what you have learned as systematically as possible, which is also to further consolidate your knowledge achievements; do more sharing, if a knowledge You can not only understand yourself, but also let everyone understand what you say and what your thinking is. This will further improve your structured thinking & expression ability;

2. Maintain curiosity : I would like to express that in my usual work, don’t be limited by your own boundaries, don’t just be satisfied with the work assigned to you, and explore more outside the work assigned to you to expand your field capabilities. Basic requirements: For example, after you are responsible for a certain module of a project, whether you can cover your upstream and downstream problems, whether you can locate the cause in time and assist in solving when there is a problem online; To explore, compare the work content and thinking of the surrounding students to see which part of the ability is still lacking, and what targeted improvement can be done. For example, at work, a classmate may be responsible for the picking practical part of the warehouse:
•Have you understood the main process of picking list generation?
•Do you understand the design of the packaging section?
•Do you know the main ways and constraints for shipping in cages?
•Do you know the interaction nodes and main data of documents outside the warehousing system?

Let’s zoom in a little more to the life experience of others besides work. Are you deaf to everything from international news to gossip on the surrounding intranet? This will make yourself in a state of occlusion of information, which will lead to rigid thinking over time. Therefore, you must maintain your curiosity, ensure the breadth of your knowledge reserve, and keep your thinking in an active state.

3. Think more about the nature of product requirements : at least first, do more empathy in the PRD review and understand more about the reasons behind product design. For example, if a user needs to lose weight, what would you think of? Ordinary people may think of losing weight, but thinking under product thinking should think, maybe he wants a more beautiful appearance? Maybe he needs to find a partner? Maybe want to boost your social status?

4. Maintain more associations and exercise imagination : Can you think of the existing capabilities of the system after receiving the demand for the product, and can it be combined with the existing system to achieve the optimal solution to the demand? Here is an example of picking in a warehouse system: before the Hema processing center had a demand for picking by commodity, the general idea is that when the picker sees the commodity in the warehouse, he can choose the commodity to pick by himself, and select the commodity according to the commodity. The demand for picking is a relatively simple demand from the product side. What is the general association here?

a. The first response to this demand is generally to select the picking list directly according to the product and return it to the user, and then let the user make a choice (at the same time, it is necessary to change the relevant index of the picking list);

b. Thinking of the overall situation, if you think deeply about the real-time scheduling of picking tasks in the B2C warehouse, you can think of whether the implementation of task scheduling here is more in line with the planning of the global scheduling of practical operations in the warehouse?

c. Thinking of the bottlenecks and optimization points of the existing system, the current scheduling selects queue pull tasks according to the partition & task capabilities, which is essentially a " real-time sorting", which can only be pulled based on configuration priority. In fact, we should also expand the "selection ability" of task scheduling. For example, the request by commodity this time is actually a selection ability within the queue. In addition to the ability to select different queues at the L1 level when acquiring tasks, we should have the ability to select the L2 level within the queue to enrich another scheduling method (and sorting level) of our task scheduling center on the practical side. ability);

d. Finally, combining the past and possible future, in addition to picking by commodity, the previous DPS picking & label picking, when going to the task queue, the method of pulling the temporary filtering through tools should not be a long-term method. Including the possible subsequent picking by location (lane storage location inside the partition, obtaining the optimal picking list in real time according to the manpower location), picking by sales order (which order will be overtime and urgently increase the priority), etc. may exist. Scenarios and essences are based on real-time practical actions to have the ability to choose the L2 dimension, and whether it is possible to use this demand to build the basic realization ability;

e. Finally, some abstract suggestions are given, changes in picking actual operations, human factors, and dynamic selection. When generating tasks, it has dynamic capabilities during normal production and actual operations (the ability to select insertion is based on human factors). If it is not configured, the sorting capabilities of the original queue will be used by default.

Of course, this is just an example of association, and the final decision may also consider various factors such as input-output ratio. Keeping the imagination is a good way to increase the depth of thinking, both for programmers and product managers. All we have to do is develop habits and let our thinking grow along with our imagination.

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