ONE THING... on Roadmap Prioritization

“Always assume you may have to stop work at any time,” says Eric Reis, of the Lean Startup movement. It’s wise advice for a startup…or even an established company. Your resources may be diverted, and you never get to every possible feature. So you have to prioritize when setting up a roadmap, with the most important tasks done first where their value can be demonstrated.

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ONE THING... Product Peace

It's easier to discuss priorities and roadmap issues one-on-one with the head of sales, for example, than it is if the head of marketing is also in the room. Too many egos, too much politics. I make it a point to continuously "shuttle" between all my stakeholders gathering their input individually, discussing what's important to them, and trying out early versions of the plan on them en route to a final roadmap.

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ONE THING on Product Culture Manifesto

This week I've been thinking about quitting. I'm really good at it. I've left 3 jobs because of bad product culture. I wrote about one on LinkedIn a few months ago. It was that career experience that led me to the concept of product culture, and ultimately to ProductCulture.org and this nano-letter. 

The product culture movement starts here. This group of passionate product people has inspired me and I need your help to codify our values, as in a Product Culture Manifesto. I think if we get this right we can help change the world.

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ONE THING on PM as Quarterback

"I don't like when people say that the product manager is the CEO of the product. To me, it's more like the quarterback. The quarterback sometimes has to call the plays himself, but also will take plays from the offensive coordinator or the head coach on the sidelines, right?" That's from my friend Dan Lack, who has been a CEO and a VP PM. We can go further: Quarterbacks are in charge on the field, but they operate within the overall team strategy developed by the owner and the head coach. 

Do you like this analogy? 

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ONE THING on Smart People who Hate Roadmaps

David Cancel, CEO of Drift, hates roadmaps. He says, "Either I'm going to disappoint you by giving you exactly what we thought six months ahead of time was the best solution when it's not, or by changing course and having lied to you."

But some customers are looking for "a paper promise." Rather than sharing an old-fashioned roadmap of features and dates, David and his product team communicate broad themes. Themes focus the team's efforts on high-level customer needs, problems, or jobs to be done.

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ONE THING on MVP Done Right

I’m a big believer in the Minimum Viable Product concept. Lots of people misunderstand it. MVP is not "What's the least we can get away with?" or "The crappiest-version that we can possibly put out."

Instead, MVP is "What is the smallest amount of work that we can do to validate a hypothesis and verify our assumptions about our business plan."...

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ONE THING on The Art of Why

I make it a policy never to act on a customer request without making sure I understand why they want it. What problem are they trying to solve? What value do they expect to derive from this change or addition (or subtraction)?

Sometimes you find, if you understand the few underlying problems, you can come up with a single solution that solves the needs of many customers at once....

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