Defining Product Success with Jon Burns, VP of Consumer Product Management at Healthgrades


At Galvanize, we’re putting a whole new spin on Study Hall with monthly, members-only sessions. At every Study Hall, industry all-stars present on one of three topics –– growth, funding, or product –– and collaborate with Galvanizers to spur innovation, solve problems, and harness the power of our dynamic startup community.

The Galvanize Denver Platte campus had the honor of hosting a Product Study Hall with Jon Burns, VP of Consumer Product Management at Healthgrades, a platform that helps consumers find the right doctor at the right hospital, for the right care.

The Study Hall session covered an array of product areas including the benefits and disadvantages of developing your product offshore, how data science and artificial intelligence are (and aren’t) used in software and gaming products today, and how to define success in the product development process. A few key highlights from the conversation:

Offshore Development

Jon has had more challenges than successes using offshore development. A few words of caution:

  • A lot of the challenging experience has been due to unclear communication and processes as the product develops. Outsourced devs have felt like more of an administrative task.
  • You lose the keys to the kingdom – documentation, understanding of code base and tech stack, scaling issues, etc.
  • There is obviously a lack of in-person communication. While it’s not critical, it helps to have someone by your side to work through problems.
  • There is no or little visibility of the change log, and no one beyond the product team would understand what’s happening.

Product Philosophy

Jon’s product philosophy is simple but effective. The faster you can get to the learning stage, the more efficient you will be. Digging a little deeper:

  • When it comes to UX design, start with a whiteboard sketch and invite people outside of the core team (engineers, stakeholders) to try out a few concepts, sketch it out, and look at what the flow might look like.
  • Take those and make some wireframes out of them.
  • Bring the wireframes to a coffee shop and ask random people to give you feedback, then develop concept mock-ups that you can take to a user testing platform or in-person group.
  • Listening is the best research you can do. Talk to potential users, not about the product you think should be built, but what their pains and needs are.

These highlights just scratch the surface of the incredible content and dialogue of this Product Study Hall with Jon Burns. The members walked away with both new and deeper understanding of the product development process.

From early-stage entrepreneurs to established founders, Galvanize Members at every stage of their careers will benefit from the insights shared at our Study Halls.

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