44: A good picture can save 1,000 words

For those of us who are artistically challenged (read: crap at drawing), it can be daunting to contemplate the use of pictures over text to make a point. I’m a perfect case in point. For years I’ve been shamed by the gorgeous presentations by Macbook-toting designers. So I’ve resolved to change for the better.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

36: Roadmaps are like DVD box sets

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

Curating the product roadmap is one of the most typical responsibilities of a product manager.  But have you ever thought about why you bother with them in the first place and how you could make them more effective?

Continue reading

31: Learn to enjoy networking

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

Business networking used to hold about as much appeal for me as speed-dating with alligators.  It was only later that I came to tolerate it, even enjoy it, but only after I learned to think about it differently.  If the prospect of a room of people at an event fills you with dread, read on, this may help.

Continue reading

29: Never commit to written word something you’ll be ashamed of later

You know how sometimes you read an email that incenses you so much that you have to craft a long, occasionally sarcastic, cutting BUT ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED reply explaining precisely why you think that person is a complete and utter d**k. Hmmm?  Here’s why it may not be a great idea to send it.

Continue reading

15: Product management is selling

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

Contrary to what you may think, most of product management is actually selling.  You are continually selling new product concepts, ideas for improvement as well as pitches for projects.  What you may not realise is that what most people think is selling isn’t actually selling.  Selling is listening, understanding, empathy and only then does persuasion factor in.

Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

11: You are allowed to say ‘no’ – it’s strategic

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

Product managers hate saying ‘no’. It’s not in our nature to disappoint people. We want everyone to be happy with our products. We’d much rather say a nice, cooperative ‘yes’ that makes everyone happy and leaves us feeling warm and fuzzy.

The problem is that saying yes to everything creates manifest chaos. Continue reading

7: Public speaking is as much about how you say it as well as what you say

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

Closely related to presenting well is the art of public speaking.  While not everyone is thrilled at the prospect at standing up and speaking in front of colleagues or strangers, it is a skill that you can acquire.  As you become more proficient, you’ll be able to control your nerves better before a presentation and you may even come to enjoy it.  Here are some suggested tips:

Continue reading

6: Good presentation skills are not the same as good PowerPoint skills

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

It is inevitable that you will need to stand up and give a presentation at some point during your career as a product manager.  Some people dislike presenting more than others; that’s natural.  Whether you love or hate the sound of your own voice, try some of the following tips to ease some of the stress of presenting.

Continue reading