Link of the day: The Agile Business Gap by @brainmates

Companies often want to go Agile because it promises a more collaborative, market-centric and frequent delivery of product to market.  In practice, however, gaps start to emerge because the rest of the business hasn’t adapted its adjacent processes to cope with the move to Agile.  Nick Coster, Co-founder of Brainmates (@brainmates), talks through the challenges and proposes some solutions to bridging the Agile Business Gap.

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30: Reserve time for housekeeping

I’m writing about 100 things I’ve learned as a product manager.

Like doing the washing-up, vacuuming under the sofa or cleaning your windows, housekeeping tasks with your product can get neglected because they’re tedious, not as interesting as new features and so on.  However, if you’ve ever found yourself eating breakfast cereal out of an oven tray with a serving spoon because every single item of cutlery and crockery is festering in a pile in your sink, it should be apparent there is inherent value in tackling housekeeping tasks bit by bit over time.

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Link of the day: Product Focus’s journal

Man reading Product Management Journal

Product Focus do a nice line in journals covering particular topics such as pricing and business cases.  They’re clear, easy to read and immensely practical, so well worth a look.

Find them at http://www.productfocus.com/journal.php

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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Drowning in product documentation? Start swimming – Part 1

(Updated from the original on 3 December 2015)

Do you spend more time writing documents about your product than actually managing it?

Many companies with a product management function become all caught up in the process, drowning themselves in increasing numbers of documents. These rapidly become overwhelming to manage, contain duplicated detail and ultimately obscure the real goal of product management, namely to create successful products.

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9: Everything benefits from a good start in life

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

Don’t you find that it is always so hard to recover something that started badly?  Whether it’s a development project, a product launch, or a new starter in your team, you can be reasonably certain that each will benefit from a good start.

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ProductCamp London: Why product managers and entrepreneurs need to be more alike

Whether you’re part of a large, established company or a small, new start-up venture, you need to think like an entrepreneur if you manage products.  Here’s a round-up of some of the presentations and discussions I attended at London’s recent ProductCamp, with links to the slide decks and recommended reading where applicable.

Summary of advice:

  • Know your product, market, company, self: you need to go into your new venture / product management role with your eyes and ears open (via @cathyma)
  • Keep validating your business case: a business case will evolve over time, you need to continue to check your assumptions throughout the process, in parallel with development (via @SaintSal)
  • Learn how to influence others: whether they’re your investors, senior managers or other key stakeholders, convince them your approach is right through hard evidence and diplomacy (via @PaulLomax)

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4 key ways to spot a successful product manager

How’s my driving?

As a product manager, how do you know you’re doing your job well?

Depending on your personal motivations you may want to know for your own satisfaction, to give your boss evidence at your next pay review, or to give your résumé some teeth for your next job.  This article outlines the problem with traditional metrics for product managers and offers some better alternatives for measuring success: communication, ideas, roadmapping, launch and end-of-life.

Simon, courtesy of GraphJam

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