"You can’t just do top-down roadmapping because then you end up just blindly building towards some vision that may or may not be actually informed by what customers want...Read More
Do you show your roadmap to your sales and customer support team? You should. My friend Sam Clemens, founder of InsightSquared, tries to make his roadmaps open and clear.Read More
"Happy employees = happy customers = happy shareholders." That’s Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight, which just went public last month.Read More
Software companies are most successful when they Productize. They build once, then sell again and again. Facebook, Microsoft, DropBox, etc. They are not one-off shops.Read More
"'Here's what our product can do' and 'Here's what you can do with our product...' sound similar, but they are completely different approaches,” says Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp.Read More
When presenting roadmaps, smart Product people build in a rearview mirror -- a summary of what's been delivered in the recent past. This sets context for the forward-looking portion of the roadmap.Read More
Wise Product people market their services around their organizations, as plenty of our coworkers don't know what we do. Product people are used to selling our ideas to sales and engineering, but UX can be a great connection as well.Read More
There is the famous “two pizza rule” created by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: you have to be able to feed your entire team on two pizzas. If your teams are as hungry as mine, that’s like 6 people. One of the crucial elements of product culture is small crossfunctional teams.Read More
“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.Read More
This is one of my favorite product culture articles, written by my friend Jason Scherschligt. The article has tips on how to make this transition from a project to a product mindset. Plus there are a bunch of pithy take-aways that should become mantras for product people, like “celebrate rather than bemoan a change in requirements: it means you know more."
Exciting Controversy: I believe it is more important to hire a product manager who is a leader and communicator than a good technologist.Read More
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.Read More
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.
"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?Read More
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.
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."...
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....
When Product Managers present a roadmap, people often conclude that it is an absolute commitment. For some reason they assume that the learning process stops when the roadmap begins. Weird but true. I've seen this again and again in multiple companies....Read More
This week I'm thinking about how McKinsey's findings on the obstacles to digital transformation apply to product. Here's the money quote:Read More