Viewing entries tagged with 'product strategy'
One topic I’ve never written explicitly about is the need for product passion. I’ve referenced it at the top of the list of traits for good product leaders, but it’s easy to take this for granted especially since the people I surround myself with professionally are generally very passionate about products.
I am in the midst of a series of articles on product planning, but I’ve received several e-mails asking where this fits into the overall product organization, and the product discovery and product development processes, so I thought I’d make sure before proceeding further on the techniques that we’re all clear on the purpose and objectives of good product portfolio planning.
In keeping with my recent theme of product planning, I'd like to focus in this article on an important distinction and source of frustration in many companies, and that has to do with the differences between business strategy and product strategy.
In my last article I began a series on the product planning process. I wanted to start by emphasizing that the most critical aspect to product planning is to have an effective mechanism for separating the good ideas from the bad (see The Seven Deadly Sins of Product Planning).
I can¹t tell you how many times product managers have shown me their sophisticated spreadsheets and algorithms for prioritizing their long laundry list of feature requests (weighting various factors like cost, complexity, risk, customer impact, projected sales impact, documentation, dependencies, etc.) eventually leading to a single aggregated prioritized roadmap.
Recently I spoke with a team of very frustrated Scrum engineers. They were frustrated because they felt like all they were doing for the past year was chasing features and that the product manager really had no clue where they were heading or what they were really trying to accomplish. When I spoke to the product manager (product owner in Scrum lingo), he explained that he thought the whole idea of Agile methods like Scrum was to remain flexible and “agile” and that he didn’t think he was supposed to worry about or lock in a longer-term direction.
Many software product teams are either currently experimenting with Agile methods, or have recently moved. I have written elsewhere about the benefits of Agile methods, including Scrum and XP, but I wanted to highlight here the keys for product management in an Agile environment.
In my last article (Product Management vs. Product Marketing) I discussed why product management is very different from product marketing, and how critical it is to have capable product managers. The note seemed to strike a chord in that a record number of you wrote to express your agreement and the need to educate companies about this issue. However, quite a few managers of product management mailed me to say that while they agreed, they had inherited an organization where many of the people with "product manager" titles were really product marketing people with all the problems I described, and they were struggling to correct the situation.