54: How to stop common B2B dysfunctions in the product team

For those of you who work in business-to-business (B2B) companies, how many of these sound familiar?

“Our product team is always called in to fight customer fires post-sale.”

“Sales people bring product managers along to answer customers’ techie questions.”

“The product team isn’t allowed to speak to customers unless they’re in a sales meeting.”

“Our sales team will often sell something that doesn’t exist, then make it the product team’s problem to make it happen.”

“Our product backlog is full of priority feature requests that the sales person says the customer needs before they’ll purchase.”

You’re not going crazy – nor are you alone. These are common dysfunctions plaguing product teams in B2B companies the world over.

How do you stop them happening? Read on for some suggestions.

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53: THIS is what product-market fit looks like

Product-market fit is one of those concepts that seems relatively straightforward in theory but ends up being elusive in practice. Finding your way to product-market fit is an iterative process reliant on lots of appropriate, good quality research and validation, also known as customer development. But what does product-market fit actually look like when you get there?

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52: It only takes one bottleneck

600x712_SmartGates AustraliaI’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

I was working for a month in Australia a little while ago. On my arrival I was initially really impressed by the slick service design of their automated SmartGate immigration process. Until I found myself back to having to fill in declaration cards with a pen, that is. It just goes to show that good design work can be easily undermined by one poorly thought-out step in the process.

(In a rare flash of common sense, I thought it prudent to publish this article some time after I’d safely made it back to the UK. Y’know, just in case…)

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51: Assemble the right product team

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

The UK Government now has many digital teams based on the blueprint established by the Government Digital Service (GDS). I’ve worked in Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Digital, and in turn closely with GDS as a service assessor for the MOJ.

These government digital teams have a way to ensure their digital services and products are created in the right way. In this post I’ll share with you how they do this and explain how you can make it work at your organisation.

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50: A novice’s introduction to service design for product managers

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

I’m no expert on service design, but it’s an area I’m curious to learn more about. This is a novice’s introduction to service design for product managers.

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49: How to prioritise your product portfolio

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

If you were to inherit a portfolio of ninety legacy products, some of which hadn’t been updated in years, with varying numbers of users relying on them, what would you decide to do with them? And how would you prioritise which ones to work on?

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48: Mac or PC? You don’t have to pick a side

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

If you lived in the UK or US at the time, you may remember the Apple adverts from a years ago gently mocking their competitor, Microsoft:

I’ve learned that it’s perfectly fine not to pick a side.

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46: How to qualify yourself for a product management job

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

If you want to work as a developer, you learn software engineering, computer science or teach yourself to code. If you want to become a UX designer, you learn about design and behavioural psychology. But what do you need to learn if you want to qualify for a job as a product manager?

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45: Three ways you’re DEFINITELY doing MVPs wrong

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

If one were to heft a half-brick down Old Street in London, there would be high probability of hitting someone currently engaged in building a minimum viable product (MVP) of some sort or another. There’s also almost as high a probability that they’re doing it wrong.  Allow me to explain.

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