Amazon’s Working Backwards method is a unique and innovative approach to product development and decision-making. The method, which has been widely adopted within Amazon, encourages teams to start with the end in mind and work their way backward to determine the steps needed to achieve the desired outcome. This customer-centric approach prioritizes understanding customer needs and preferences before diving into the development process.
At the heart of the Working Backwards method is the creation of a press release and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. The process begins by writing a hypothetical press release that captures the essence of the product or feature being envisioned. This press release serves as a concise and compelling description of the product’s benefits, features, and value proposition. It forces teams to clarify their vision and think about how the product will be received by customers and the market.
Following the press release, the team then develops a detailed FAQ document that anticipates questions customers might have about the product. This exercise helps identify potential challenges and provides valuable insights into customer needs, concerns, and expectations. By thoroughly addressing these questions, teams can refine their product idea and make informed decisions about its feasibility and viability.
The Working Backwards method fosters a disciplined and customer-focused approach to product development. It aligns teams around a shared vision and ensures that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the desired outcome. This approach also promotes collaboration and communication within the team, as members work together to refine the product concept and identify the necessary steps to bring it to life.