Jock is a freelance head of product, author and speaker with over nineteen years' experience working in technology. He helps startups and larger organisations to improve their product management practices, including Unmortgage, BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).He is the founder of Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy and training. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.
I’m asked questions about product management from time to time. Here’s one I’ve answered recently:
I would love to pick your brain about roadmaps.
To give more clarity to my team (which is working on two mandates/sub-projects), I would like to empower them with a roadmap/timeline of the project. We already have one, on Confluence that I’ve printed next to our whiteboard. But it’s not “ours”.
Any recommendation in terms of shape/content? Should it be extremely detailed or high level? More generally, how to craft the best roadmap/product timeline for my team?
And for its creation? Any convenient tool or Excel template for this?
Product managers often struggle to keep on top of their product roadmap. I recently gave this talk at Landing Festival Berlin to explain where people often get lost and show you how to make your product roadmaps more meaningful, user-centric and measurable.
People sometimes ask me for career advice. Here’s a recent question:
I’m an entrepreneur, product/program manager and hardcore gamer. I’m facing a dilemma in my career’s direction. I’m split between my love for the game industry (dreaming of launching a game with a team), and my passion for product management (I would love to be a PM for a tech company).
I’ve applied to both the game industry for producer positions (no PM there), and to tech companies for PM roles. Got a few interviews for PM, but I may lack experience. On the other hand, I’ve got an offer in a big game studio for a production coordinator role (about project and people management, primarily). My manager is experienced and believes in me, and it would be for a triple A game.
I would see myself being a product manager for a tech company, or a game director in a studio. So not only managing projects and teams, but also having a vision for the product/games, researching the market, coming up with features, roadmaps, and so on. I feel I already have a good “product sense”, but I may be lacking in terms of experience, management (especially with engineers), and leadership.
Do you feel being a production coordinator would be a good or at least relevant move toward this career?
I returned to Bristol recently to guest host the Threads meetup. Clearly I didn’t put them off the first time. Threads is a monthly roundtable discussion for entrepreneurs and founders of technology scale-up businesses based in the South West of England.
This month we were discussing when and how to build a product team.