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Homer Simpson….Product Manager?

May 9, 2011

What services to offer?....Don’t Build a Homer!

Homer Simpson - Product Manager?

Homer Simpson - Product Manager?

In one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons, Homer discovers that he has a long-lost brother. While Homer is just a schlub working at the Springfield nuclear power plant, his brother Herb is the owner of a successful car company. Herb generously offers Homer the chance to design the next year’s model car, since Homer understands the sort of car that will appeal to the common man.

“The Homer” is a disaster that puts Herb’s company out of business and bankrupts Herb personally. What’s wrong with the car? The sticker price is $82,000–far out of the price range for “the common man–because of all the features Homer added, such as…

A bubble dome for the driver, and another for passengers.
An “extremely large beverage holder”
Car horns that play “La Cucaracha”
Shag carpeting
Chrome air scoop and spoiler
Tail fins
Straps and muzzles for small children

You can probably guess where I’m going with this.

The Homer is a metaphor for product design gone wrong. Too many things that the customer might want, but really doesn’t need, at a price that no one wants to pay. Sound familiar?

Use the 80/20 rule…

If you try to build a cloud that satisfies 100% of the requests you receive from your customers, you are probably doomed to failure.

The principle states that you should be able to satisfy 80% of your requirements with a set of standard offerings that require 20% of your effort.

The remaining 20% of requests can easily absorb 80% of your effort if you let them.

Build a catalogue or menu of standard services targeted at meeting this 80% of requests.

The benefits of using standard offerings are faster time to market, lower cost and you will likely find that 90% or more of the new requests you receive are for your standard offering.

Credit: http://ecvmagazine.com/ http://blogs.forrester.com/tom_grant/08-03-18-homer_simpson_product_manager

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