How to show your team the benefits of experimentation

This is a little post about some ways to convince a reluctant development team that experimentation is A Good Thing.

In our New Year’s morning stupor over a restorative cup of tea, my friend Luke was bemoaning how difficult it was to impress upon his development team the benefits of experimentation.

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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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Back(log) to the Future – story arcs, roadmaps and product themes

Last time I published an article explaining why I thought roadmaps were a little like DVD box sets.   DonorDrive product manager Kasey Marcum (@kaseymarcum) asked in the comments:

“Always enjoy your posts, Jock! I really love the high level idea of this. What does this actually look like in the wild?”

Imagine your roadmap and sprints being as engaging as a hit movie – just think how much easier they’d be to “sell” to your stakeholders and customers!  Let’s see how you can do this.

Back to the Future

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Cycles within cycles

(Updated from the original on 24 June 2014, 3 December 2015)

This week, we’ve been looking at two different lifecycles: the product lifecycle and the development lifecycle – cycles within cycles!

At the macro scale we’re looking at the product lifecycle which spans its evolution from drawing board to market through to eventual withdrawal.  On a smaller scale within that cycle, a product will go through many development lifecycle iterations.

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Product managers make GREAT dinner guests

Now that I’ve started up a product management consultancy, I’ve found myself having to explain a bit more often what a product manager actually is.  There are, of course, eminently more articulate and relevant descriptions available of what being a product manager means.  But as it’s a Monday and we’re all in need of more frivolity in our lives, I’ve concluded that product managers would make excellent dinner guests.  Here’s why:

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My new favourite things

A very happy New Year to you all!

Over the last few weeks I’ve mostly been investigating the variety of tools available to help product managers at different stages of their product’s lifecycle.  For me, the emphasis has been on speed and ease of use because my project is short-lived and I want to show some results.

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Link of the day: Agile Product Ownership in a nutshell

If you’ve got 15 minutes handy, here’s an engaging and useful overview of Agile Product Ownership by Henrik Kniberg over on Crisp’s Blog.  I also love the sketching tool he’s narrating over! (it’s ArtRage if you were wondering)

Thanks to Romuald Restout for the link.

Drowning in product documentation? Start swimming – Part 2

Does this sound familiar?

  • Write document ‘A’
  • Copy most of its contents into template ‘B’
  • Rework same content into slideshow ‘C’
  • Copy slide images into document ‘D’
  • PDF and circulate an executive summary of document ‘D’ for feedback from EVERYONE IN THE COMPANY
  • File documents A-D in a folder no-one will ever inspect again

If so, read on…
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Context is everything

BMW Versus Audi

Your developers may be happiest when they’re hacking gnarly code, leaving you to get on with engaging with the market, but this doesn’t mean you can ignore their need for context – the ‘why’ of their project.

Over the years, I have spoken to many disgruntled developers over a beer after work.  This isn’t entirely coincidental as they tend to dwell in the kind of pubs I enjoy: real ale, good selection of crisps, ability to hear oneself think, minimal bar fights, that kind of thing.

What tends to be a recurring theme of their disgruntlement is that they don’t see the point of their current project. They feel aggrieved that they’re not doing something more interesting instead.  And you know what, if it’s your project, it’s your fault.  Bad product manager.

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