How to move fast, enjoy customers, and continually innovate to thrive in today’s economy by having the API Product Mindset?
How do APIs work?
Let’s imagine how do they work with a real-time example.
Think that you’re on LinkedIn and you’re attempting to discover a few companies within the fintech space.
You sort out your keywords (industry, location, etc.) and LinkedIn executes the outcomes from its database of thousands of companies in less than a second.
This request, sending by the user runs almost instantaneously, is likely facilitated by LinkedIn’s Company Search API.
LinkedIn APIs may provide information ranging from financial payments data to location data. End-user or external products may request seamless outcomes within a product and this kind of request-response interaction can be enabled with APIs.
Why APIs are important to Product Managers?
APIs make digital society and digital business work by connecting people, businesses and things. Those connections enable new digital products and business models and create new business channels,” research firm Gartner states in its article “Put APIs at the Center of Your Digital Business Platform.”
1- APIs are interfaces that enable developers to repeatedly leverage data, functions, and applications to build new products and services.
2- APIs are how a business expresses itself via software, and they enable that business to rapidly expand into new contexts or adapt to meet changing user needs and preferences.
3- APIs allow your customers to innovate at their own pace.
4- APIs aren’t just some back-office technical detail, in other words — they’re both products for the developers who build today’s customer experiences and the mechanisms through which value is increasingly exchanged in modern economies.
- Salesforce has generated half its revenue through APIs
- 60% of eBay’s listings are done through their API.
- Twitter receives over 13 billion API calls daily.
- Netflix can stream to over 200 different device types thanks to its API.
- Stories like these are why so many business leaders and analysts have begun to talk about an “API Economy.”
To Have “API as a Product Mind-Set”
1- If API designers operate with a product mindset, they’ll prioritize ease of consumption and seek to increase the likelihood the API can continue to provide strategic value and extensibility in the future.
2- Building APIs to meet specific project requirements is also common. This approach can limit the APIs’ extensibility, either because back-end implementation details have become baked in which makes updates more difficult and may make the API harder for developers to work with.
3- APIs may require significant modifications to meet new use cases outside the original, narrowly defined scope. When APIs are not designed for easy, consistent, and intuitive developer consumption, the threat of complications and lost productivity looms large.
4- API products should be designed in a consistent way that developers can easily consume, with both security considerations, such as OAuth protection, and usability concerns, such as documentation and sample code, given due urgency. An API should not be over-designed, however, which tends to limit future flexibility.
5- When designing an API with ease of consumption or future use in mind, the goal is not to design for all needs but rather to start with an extensible base that presents the basic value proposition to developers and is easy for them to consume, and to then enable their feedback to guide future iterations.
6- Most importantly, the API product mindset requires that an API actually be managed like a product. It should be owned by a product manager, like any other product, and not by a project manager whose responsibility is to deliver on a list of requirements. The product manager should understand the customer requirements for the product and take responsibility for translating them into product requirements and a roadmap of iterations. To satisfy these responsibilities, the product manager should be aligned with other business and technical leaders on the goals and potential value of the API program. They should also have access to API management tools that provide visibility into how and by whom the API is being used and otherwise help to meet service-level agreements (SLAs), derive insights, and ensure the product is meeting customer needs.