59: Find the tipping point in your research

I bet you’ve found yourself in this situation. You’re trying to get your head around the main user problem your new product is going to solve. The thing is, for every question you try to answer, several more questions arise.

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Q&A: what kinds of questions should I be asking in discovery?

I was recently asked this question:

During the problem exploration phase, what kind of questions should I be asking and how do I go from 1000 problems to the core problems that will unlock the solution?

Read on for my answer:

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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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33: The Field of Dreams is fiction

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

I was chatting with someone the other day about what it meant to be a product manager, not so much in terms of abstract qualities, but about their day-to-day role in a start-up and whether it differed much from working in a larger company.

In a start-up, I suggested, money is tight, so a product manager has even more responsibility than usual to ensure that, by the time the expensive development work starts, you’ve already done the product discovery.  It’s crucial to have a solid idea of what the product needs to be to solve the market problems identified.

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Why Sales needs to align with Product Management to win more business

This is a reprint of an article I wrote as a guest post for Mark Gibson.  You can see the original articles on Admarco.net and Business2Community.

Quarter-inch drills or quarter-inch holes?

Despite relying on each other for the success of their products, the Sales and Product teams often have a jarring relationship.  This is far from ideal.  By looking at where things go wrong we can identify a better way of working with each other.  The prizes on offer: shorter sales cycles, more easily achieved targets and customers who are always happy to hear from you.

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16: You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone – Joni Mitchell

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

People value something most when they’ve just lost it or come close to doing so.  If your product prevents this happening, you need to save your client this ball-ache by helping them remember how much they value what they have now so that they don’t take it for granted.

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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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5: The best possible way may not necessarily be the right way

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

We product managers are a surprisingly upbeat bunch considering that we seem to spend a good proportion of our time making compromises.  We very rarely get the opportunity to deliver everything we need in a product.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however.  We very rarely have truly ultimate say-so on the scope of a project; there’s always someone higher ranking that likes to make their mark on the world.  Similarly, technology has a habit of getting in the way sometimes.  Or pesky compliance issues.  And so on.

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