My Favorite PM Interview Question

I’m going to share here one of my favorite interview questions, even though that means I won’t really be able to use it anymore.  But I’ve got lots of others, and I think this is valuable for all product managers to consider where they stand on this, and why. One of...

Focus on Value

I have a little heuristic which I find useful.  If I see a particular issue going on in at least three companies at the same time, I figure it’s a common and serious enough issue that it’s worth writing about.  In truth, I’ve already written about...

Beyond Lean and Agile

I have been working exclusively with technology product teams now for a full 35 years, and I’ve seen countless processes, methodologies and techniques come and go.   In large part that’s the nature of the beast.  People are always searching for a silver bullet, and...

Product Manager vs. Product Owner Revisited

Five years ago I wrote an article arguing that it is essential that the product manager is also the product owner.  My motivation, which I made no secret of, was that I was worried about this point because more than a few companies were using the relatively new role...

Planning Product Discovery

Much of product discovery work doesn’t actually require a lot of planning. We need to come up with a solution to a particular problem, and often this is straight forward, and we can proceed quickly to delivery work.  But for certain efforts, this is decidedly...

Why Women Make The Best Product Managers

Recently I gave a keynote address to the Mind The Product Conference in London, and in that talk I wanted to illustrate, by example, the essential role that very strong product managers play for their team and their company.  Most people noticed that all six of my...

Behind Every Great Product

When I first decided to start The Silicon Valley Product Group, I had just left eBay and had some very strong opinions about what makes great product teams, and great product cultures…

Vision vs. Strategy

Overview In recent articles on keys to product success and the alternative to roadmaps I have highlighted that if you want the benefits of product team empowerment and autonomy, then you need to provide each team with the necessary context in which to make good...

Technology-Powered Disruption

Most people by now have read Marc Andreessen’s Why Software Is Eating The World.   This was written back in 2011, and I’ve been watching his predictions play out in companies all around the world.  While my focus is primarily on technology-powered software products,...

Tribute to Bruce Williams

This has been a tough year for the technology industry.  In March we lost Andy Grove, and in April we lost Bill Campbell. Sadly, in May we lost Bruce Williams.  Bruce had been fighting Pancreatic Cancer for the past year and a half.  He had been in an experimental...

Developer Powered Innovation

There is a very common fallacy about developers in our industry, and I think it hurts countless companies. Have you ever heard the old accusation that developers only want to solve problems for themselves?  They’ll spend countless hours, often on their own time, to...

Product Success

Exactly a year ago I was invited to give a keynote at the Craft Conference in Budapest and I discussed the 10 biggest reasons why product teams fail.  You can watch that talk here, or read the narrative article here. As I mainly shined a light on why so many teams are...

Women in Product

Note 1: I’m focusing in this article on women, however, my points here are intended to apply to all under-represented groups. Note 2: I am highlighting here the product role, which is a subset of the “women in tech” topic.  I would also love to see more women in...

Discovery Coaches

In my last article on Discovery Sprints I mentioned the concept of Discovery Coaches and several people asked me about that, so I thought I’d describe more about what this role is and when it’s helpful. For many years, as teams move to Agile methods (they usually...

Discovery Sprints

I find that many teams, especially those new to modern product techniques, are looking for a structured introduction to modern product discovery.  In this article, I’d like to describe the concept of a discovery sprint, and also introduce you to a new book that goes...

Ten Keys to Product Optimization

Product Optimization is a hot topic.  It can provide real value to teams.  However, many people confuse optimization with product discovery.  I’ve written about this earlier.  Eric Ries of the Lean Startup movement also recently tried to clear up this confusion. My...

When Performance Is Measured By Results

NOTE: I was invited to write the foreword for Christina Wodke’s new book on OKR’s, Radical Focus, and I am sharing the foreword here. I was extremely fortunate to have started my career at Hewlett-Packard as an engineer during their heyday, when they were known as the...

Devolving From Good To Bad

Lots of people have written about the challenges of managing growth.  Especially about the importance of working hard to maintain staff quality as you scale the organization.  There is little question that most organizations become worse in their ability to rapidly...

Product For Legacy Companies

NOTE: This article is from the foreword to the new 2nd Edition of The Art of Scalability by Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher.  I’m reprinting it here because quite a few people have written me asking how to get their old-style company to start behaving more like a...

Missionaries vs. Mercenaries

One of my all-time favorite quotes in our industry comes by way of the legendary VC, John Doerr, where he argues that “we need teams of missionaries, not teams of mercenaries.” This point captures so much, and gets right to the heart of the most important trait...
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