Product Manager Framework: Game Thinking
Game Thinking helps you validate your idea by testing the right prototype on the right customers. Learn how this powerful methodology works – step by step.
Build engagement from the ground up
You’ve got a hot idea for an innovative product. But how do you know your idea is the right one? Is it what your customers really want? Will it keep them engaged? What’s the best way to test – and who to test it on?
The only way to answer these questions for sure is to validate your idea with real customers. But prototyping and testing can be expensive and time consuming. It turns out that game design has a lot to teach us about bringing compelling ideas to life – faster and smarter.
Validate your product ideas like a game designer
Game Thinking speeds up product validation and customer discovery by showing you how to:
- partner with the right early customers and leverage their investment to tune your systems
- plan your product lifecycle around a mastery path – and zero-in on the right parts to test first
- building a stripped down, high-learning MVP that drives engagement from the ground up
The process is startlingly fast, remarkably targeted, and lets you know with confidence if you’re on the right track.
1. Identify your Superfans
DO THIS. Identify your superfans — the group of passionate early customers who need your product so much that they are already trying to get their need met, and will eagerly tell you what’s wrong or right about your idea.
NOT THIS. Don’t go after the mass market first – go deep with high-need, high-value early customers. You’ll waste money trying to scale too early; follow the successful innovators & start with a micro-vertical.
2. Plan a path to Mastery
DO THIS. Clarify what your customer getting better at over time. What is the learning path that will take them from beginner to regular to expert? Plan the path to mastery, and double down on the point where customers have settled into a daily habit.
NOT THIS. Do not ignore this step. Most products have a learning curve, and successful products support customers throughout the entire learning process.
3. Playtest your Core Learning Loop
DO THIS. What is the innermost daily interaction that forms the core of customer interaction with your product? How can you craft that loop so it compels people to keep coming back? Build an MVP of your Learning Loop and test it early.
NOT THIS. Do not start with a fake landing page or on-boarding – that can come later. First, build and test the middle of the experience This might be something mundane, yet foundational.