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 techniques for my direct work with companies so that I can be sure it's relevant.
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, draws a market segmentation on the white board, and talks about the key features and why they are important. Jane takes lots of notes and asks John to review what she sends him.
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?"
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). See http://www.svpg.com/product-discovery-with-live-data-prototypes/
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?"
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."
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 really about this program.
Occasionally in my work with technology product teams around the world, I run into product managers that are still practicing the role as it used to be defined back in the PC era of technology. These organizations are inevitably frustrated, as the role was not terribly effective and often not respected.
Measuring innovation is a popular topic lately. Many product teams use Product Scorecards to keep their focus on outcomes rather than output. Eric Ries introduced the term “Innovation Accounting” for this purpose as well.
All too often I run into companies that have resigned themselves to having two different people covering the product role.