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Alexa, What's the Secret to Amazon's Success? Lessons on Product Management & Innovation from Amazon

Amazon is one of the most innovative and customer-obsessed companies in the world. In a recent article, The Secret to Product Management at AWS by Choong Lee, Amazon executives shared insights into how the company approaches product management and innovation - approaches that share some philosophy with the Growth Optimization process for driving differentiated, profitable growth. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Customer Obsession

Amazon starts every product development process by deeply understanding customer needs, pain points, and desires. The team "works backwards" from this customer perspective to ideate solutions, rather than starting with an idea first.

Empowered Product Managers

Amazon product managers are the voice of the customer. They have full autonomy and responsibility for driving business outcomes. This single-threaded focus results in greater ownership.

Small, Agile Teams

Amazon organizes product teams to be small enough to be nimble but big enough to have impact. Teams have full accountability and ownership. Leaders bring them the mission and resources, then trust teams to figure out execution. This empowers rapid iteration.

Data-Driven Iteration

Amazon takes an experiment-driven approach, starting with a minimum lovable product and rapidly incorporating customer feedback to refine the offering. Product teams use data and metrics tailored to each stage of the product lifecycle to guide priorities and know when to double down on ideas showing promise.

The Amazon way illustrates that innovation isn't just about having ideas, it's about building a culture and processes that enable rapid iteration based on customer needs. Their product-driven operating model uses working backwards, empowered teams, and data-driven iteration to deliver speed, agility, and ongoing innovation - principles that also underpin the Growth Optimization process of putting the consumer first, right-sizing investments, and driving differentiated, profitable growth.


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