Ruthless Product Management

From Charlie Wood’s blog, this excellent guerilla-style (but practically-minded) guide to real-world product management:

With limited resources, an organization has to find a way to ruthlessly optimize its product development process. My personal product management philosophy is tagged in my mind with the mnemonic “CWRF”, for “crawl, walk, run, fly”. Here’s how it works.

Version 1 of a product should crawl. This means it should do the bare minimum to be recognizable as what it’s intended to be. If it’s supposed to be a foo, and someone could look at version 1 and say, “That’s a foo,” you’re done. Ship it.

Version 2 should walk. This is where you add enough functionality that the product is useful in day-to-day life. This is not the time for polish. Basically, it’s just adding the things that most people insisted should have been in version 1, because without them, they said, the product is completely useless. They were wrong then, but they’re right now.

Version 3 should run. This is where the product hits its stride. What it does it should do well. It should be comfortable to use. It should be strong, polished, and effective.

Version 4 should fly. This is where the, “Oh man, wouldn’t it be awesome if…” features get added. This is where you start implementing things that aren’t necessarily useful now, but have a lot of possibility.


  1. Beta or Rel 1.0? Sick of Products That Don’t Work.

    Guerilla Product Marketing Principles from Charlie Wood’s Moonwatcher (via Paul Kedrosky’s Infectious Greed):