Viewing entries tagged with 'company culture'
Last week Silicon Valley and the Internet industry lost one of its pioneers. For those that knew him, Mike Homer was unique and unforgettable. I worked for him for a time at Netscape, where he was the one of the principals there, initially running the marketing organization, and later the Internet portal effort.
One consequence of having been around this industry for a while is that I¹ve seen several cycles. Sometimes the downsides are fairly minor and barely touch tech companies, and at other times nearly everyone has lay-offs, cost-cutting, consolidations, or worse. While it¹s never fun to see the industry enter a downturn, I have learned that this can actually be a very productive period for the smart companies that know how to weather the storm.
Occasionally a company starts its life as one type of business but then finds that they need to change into another type of business. The most common such transition I see is to start by building products for very large companies (enterprises), but then decide you need to switch (or expand) to sell to consumers and/or small businesses.
Quite a few companies that exist today began life as something other than a product or Internet software company. Perhaps your company began as a large brick-and-mortar retailer, or an airline, or a financial services company.
The job of the product manager is to define the products that the product development organization will build. Even with the greatest product ideas, if you can’t build and launch your service, it remains just an idea. So your relationship with the product development organization is all important.
In earlier articles I have discussed the key roles in the product organization – product managers, project managers, interaction designers, visual designers, usability engineers, prototypers, engineers, architects, QA and product marketing – and I’ve also discussed the ratios between the roles, but many organizations also struggle with the organizational structure that contains these people.
In a recent article (The Best Product Management Model) I discussed the notion that there is no single best product management model, and that the most effective model for a given company depends on a wide range of factors. I received several comments from people asking me to explain more about these factors and their consequences. To cover this I’m going to need a series of several articles, but I thought I’d start with the factors that are most often driving the need for improvement in the first place.
One question I get quite frequently is “Google is making boatloads of money, so how can we do product management like Google?” Or another common variant is “Apple creates fantastic products. How can we do product management like Apple?”
This article is from an interview I did recently with a long-time friend and serial entrepreneur Danny Shader. We were talking about what makes a great CEO of a product company, and I loved what he had to say.