20: Leave work when you’re meant to


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

It took me a while to learn this one, but it’s genuinely helped me to sleep more soundly at night and avoid setting unrealistic expectations about how much I can get done in a given amount of time.

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19: How to regain control of your inbox


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

Product managers just loooove solving problems and answering questions.  Emails present us with an enticing list of both, which is why we find it so hard to tear ourselves away from them.  I reveal three quick tips to show you how you can regain control of your inbox after the break!

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Live on ProdMgmtTalk July 25/26 – the love/hate relationship with Sales


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Love them or hate them, you won’t have a successful product without your sales force.  So if you’re at a loose end on Monday night, come join me to discuss the relationship between Product Management and Sales on @ProdMgmtTalk.

  • In the UK, if you want to share your views, you’ll need to stay up past your bedtime on a school night.  The tweet chat is early Tuesday 26 July, midnight – 1:00 AM BST.
  • For the US, it will be Monday 25 July, between 4:00 – 5:00 PM PT
  • And for Australia it will be Tuesday 26 July 9:00 – 10:00 AM ET

I hope you can join me – I look forward to seeing you there.  Detail on the discussion and background reading is available after the break.
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Net Promoter EU Conference 2010


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A few months ago, I co-presented a short speaking slot at this year’s Satmetrix Net Promoter European Conference.  I’ve reproduced an excerpt from their official blog of the event for posterity.

You can see the full article in its original form at Satmetrix’s European Conference Blog 2010.

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I’m in the middle of a chain reaction


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Hello all, hope you’re having a lovely, restful Sunday.  I’ve finally got around to sharing with you the useful Product Management and Usability / User Experience bookmarks I’ve been accumulating.

I’ve found them particularly useful, I hope you will too.  I’ve also thrown in a few of my friends’ sites and blogs and urge you to read the beautiful, insightful and occasionally disturbing things they say.

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4 key ways to spot a successful product manager


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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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Hello. I’m new.


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I remember once starting a product manager job where it took me two hours to establish where my desk was.  It took me that time to break the protracted conversation between my well-intentioned manager and two colleagues.

When I eventually found my desk, I had to resort to stealing paper from printers to take down the notes about what my product was (conclusion: not entirely clear), what my purpose was (conclusion: look busy, make yourself useful) and what people expected of me (conclusion: ????).

On the plus side, I gained a valuable insight into how NOT to manage a new starter.  Fast forward a few years and here I am with a new product manager about to join my team.  Here are three basic lessons I’ve learned, so that hopefully you won’t be the subject of a similar blog post some time down the line.

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Questions you need to be asking


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There are many questions that a product manager needs to ask to determine the best course of action or to analyse underlying motivations.  Of them, I use the following three questions most often:

  1. So what?
  2. Why?
  3. What’s stopping us?

So what?

Use this repeatedly to uncover the true benefit of something rather than simply features of the proposition.  For example:

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By way of an introduction


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Why write a blog?

Up until recently if someone had suggested that I start writing a blog (or twittering, but that’s a story for another time) I would most likely have unfurled my ‘To Do’ list with a flourish, watched the unrolling end bounce off the floor and gestured vaguely into the distance.

So what’s changed?

blogging is ridiculous because the word to me sounds faintly unsanitary

Before I became a product manager, I used to write a great deal more, not only relatively serious essays and papers, but also creative nonsense and frivolous, fictional articles mainly for the amusement of friends who shared the same daft sense of humour.

As a product manager, the most creatively I’ve written recently has been to use an adjective in a use case once, though I had to remove it in a subsequent draft of my requirements document following a complaint Development escalated to my line manager.

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