insights blog

The Opportunity Backlog

Recently I was with my friend Jeff Patton, one of the pioneers in applying Agile to product organizations, and he told that he has been advocating the term “Opportunity Backlog” as an alternative to the product roadmap. I have written earlier about the...

Lead Engineer as Product Owner

Many companies I meet are confused about roles and responsibilities.  They’re not sure the difference between product managers and project managers, or between product managers and product marketing, or between product managers and interaction designers, as just...

Lessons From Leaders

One thing I love to do when I visit with companies is collect their favorite quotes and mantras.  It helps me to understand their culture and their values.  We all deal with certain truths about building technology products, and I find that certain quotes resonate...

Product Scorecard Stages

Normally I like to keep my newsletters to discussions of organization, process and best practices that I believe apply to nearly all technology companies, and I limit the number of product-specific techniques I discuss because of that.  I save the product-specific...

Product Marketing Contribution

Jane is supporting the launch of Product X, a new release her company is really excited about. She is on the marketing team. Armed with her launch checklist, she schedules a meeting with John, the product manager.  At the meeting, John answers all of her questions,...

Defining Good

I consistently get asked questions like the following: “Just look at Facebook/Amazon/Google (usually one of those three).  Don’t you think they have a terrible product?  How could they possibly be so successful?” No matter how many times I hear the...

Live-Data Prototypes vs. Production

I have written earlier about the differences between user prototypes (simulations intended to test the user experience), and live-data prototypes (actual code intended to send live traffic to in order to test real behavior). ...

The Product Manager Contribution

Recently I was asked by a very smart CTO: “I understand the need for a great user experience designer, but if we have a strong designer, and that person is paired with a strong technology lead, do we really still need a product manager?” For many teams,...

Viable Product vs. Minimal Product

To continue on the series of articles describing the critically important concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), in this article I wanted to contrast the concept of Viable Product with what I call “Minimal Product.” So often I meet teams that tell me...

Social Contract for Product Managers

If I were starting my career in product today, I would do anything I could to get into a very innovative program at Stanford called the Stanford Design School (aka “d.school”).  I absolutely love the curriculum and the faculty.  But this article is not...

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