Skip to main content

Dollar Coins

Has the government done any product management on its currency product?

Since 1971, the U.S. government has made several attempts to ween its citizens off of paper currency (dollar bills) and onto coins. In many other developed countries, similar denominations of currency have been coins, not paper. Supposedly, the similarity of dollar coins to quarters has been one reason that dollar coins have not gained popular acceptance.

If the government were to gather requirements for a currency product, what would they be? What would the use cases be? What would the attributes and constraints attached to these use cases be?

Some of the use cases might be:
  • Pay for Goods
  • Carry Money
  • Withdraw Money
  • Deposit Money

Some of the attributes might be:

  • Fit (Does it fit comfortably in pockets/wallets/purses?)
  • Weight (Does carrying a lot of it around weigh you down?)
  • Durability (How well does it withstand the elements and time?)
  • Identifiability (How easy is it to distinguish relative to other currency?)
I am personally sensitive to the fit and weight of currency. I don't like the feel of a lot of change in my pockets, and I can't stuff a lot of coins in my wallet.

Comments

Unknown said…
I think they did do their research. The Susan B. Anthony was a disaster because of its similarity to the quarter, but the Sacajawea dollar should have addressed all the requirements. I think Americans just aren't that receptive to changes in the currency. Americans are just very conservative about our cash - the new, "big head" bills still don't look like real money to me. And, there really isn't a strong reason for consumers to adopt the dollar coin - it makes a lot of sense for the government, but not the consumers.

And, bear in mind, that issuing the new dollar coins requires coordination with everybody else. All the vending machines, toll booths, cashier trays, etc... have to be ready to accept the new currency, so there's a huge barrier to entry.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

Use Case as a Black Box

Consider the following use case: Purchase Items Actor: Purchaser Precondition: Purchaser types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40. Postcondition: For the average Purchaser acting at full efficiency, the number of seconds elapsed is no more than 30 + 20 * n, where n is the number of items purchased. The name of the use case represents a functional requirement. What does the product do, or enable the user to do? Purchase items. What are we to make of the preconditions and postconditions? What relationship do they have to the requirements for the product? Answer: the preconditions and postconditions are the nonfunctional requirements attached to the functional requirement . Another way of expressing the nonfunctional requirement would be as an attribute and associated constraint: Usability: For a Purchaser who types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40, it shall take no

Henry Ford's "Faster Horse" Quote

You may have heard the ( apocryphal ) Henry Ford quote: If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse". Over at the On Product Management blog , Saeed gives his take on this infamous quote. He "hates" it, and gives some compelling reasons. Saeed is spot on in his explanations. Personally, I think the quote is great, but it's a matter of interpretation. The valid point of the quote is not that it's a bad idea to facilitate a conversation with your market to better understand it. The valid points are: You must ask the right questions to get valuable answers. You must interpret the answers thoughtfully - often outside their direct meaning - to glean reliable information. Asking questions is not always the best way to "listen" to your market. (E.g., sometimes pure observational studies are more reliable.) Nonetheless, I find the quote is helpful to combat "armchair product management" in the