The Role of Analytics

One of the most significant changes in how we do product today is our use of analytics.   Any capable product leader today is expected to be comfortable with data, and understand how to leverage analytics to learn and improve quickly. Note: For the purposes of this...

Product Market Fit

In earlier articles I’ve discussed various aspects of Minimum Viable Product (which I like to refer to as MVP Tests to avoid any confusion with an actual product). In this article I’d like to say more about the critical concept of Product Market Fit. The term was...

Epic Waste

Much has been written about waste at startups.  I started writing about this as far back as 2005 (see Startup Product Management), and this concept is at the core of the Lean Startup movement. Lately there’s been much talk and ink about waste in government technology...

Personas for Product Management

Product: eBay Seller Tools Pete the Power Seller Background Pete is a 46-year-old male that lives in Fresno and runs a small motorcycle parts business.  While he does maintain a small brick-and-mortar shop, almost all of his sales come from eBay, where he sells on...

Product Discovery in Established Companies

Much has been written about how to do product discovery in startups, by me and many other people.   There are many challenges for startups, most importantly, survival.  But one of the real advantages from a product point of view is that there’s no legacy to drag...

The End Of Requirements

When I start working with product teams, one of the first things I try to do is to get them to stop thinking of their job as one of gathering and documenting requirements.  In fact, I try to get them to stop thinking in terms of requirements at all. Most requirements...

The Biggest Risk

One of the things I like about a Lean Canvas is it helps to quickly highlight the key assumptions and major risks facing a startup or a significant new product in an existing business.  This is a good thing.   The idea is to tackle the biggest risks first....

The Power of Reference Customers

Our job in the product organization is to create products that can sustain a business.  Make no mistake about it: everything depends on strong products. Without these strong products, our marketing programs require customer acquisition costs that are too high; our...

Selecting An Agile Coach

I should have written this article many years ago. Starting around 2004 and 2005 I began seeing an increasing number of teams moving to Agile, and of course the first thing they needed was training and often some coaching. However, more often than not, I had to go...

This I Believe

This article is a little bit different, but if you make it to the last paragraph, I’m hoping it will help better explain where I’m coming from. In the spirit of the inspirational This I Believe project, I thought I would share with you the beliefs that...

The Need For Speed

I’m always badgering teams about moving faster.  Yet I continue to meet people and teams that not only move very slow, they don’t understand the relationship between speed and innovation, or speed and quality.  In fact, many people still think those goals...

Developing Strong Product Teams

Note: This article is a collaboration between myself and my long-time friend and colleague Jeff Patton.  We often work together to help product teams. We have both long argued that the best way to evaluate product teams is by their results; the outcome they generate,...

Lean Canvas vs. Opportunity Assessment

One question that’s come up several times recently is the difference between an Opportunity Assessment, and a Business Model Canvas (or its popular derivative Lean Canvas). While it is true you could try to use each to serve the purpose of the other, it quickly...

Funnels vs. Umbrellas

In my last newsletter I wrote about Stakeholder Management.  That article seemed to strike a chord with many people. One person sent me a quote that is attributed to Todd Jackson of Facebook, which is probably one of the best lines I’ve seen regarding product in...

Stakeholder Management

I’m not sure why I haven’t written specifically on this topic before because it comes up as an issue with so many teams.  For many product managers, managing stakeholders is probably the least favorite part of their job. I don’t want to suggest that...

Value Creation vs. Value Capture

People approach creating products from many different perspectives.  Some seek out customer pain and dedicate themselves to solving their problems.  Others follow the technology and strive to deliver solutions that are just now possible.  Some like to follow...

The Inconvenient Truth About Product

Every week I continue to find product teams laboring away on old-style product roadmaps that have been painstakingly negotiated with management and stakeholders, sometimes for several quarters in advance.  I have written several times about the problems with this...

Vision Pivots vs. Discovery Pivots

The term “pivot” is probably one of the most overused and abused terms in today’s product teams.  If you’re not familiar with the concept, see Your Business Plan Is Wrong. As I work with different teams I find the term used in so many different...

Top-Down Dates

In my last article, I discussed how we manage public commitments in an Agile, Dual-Track environment.  In that article I talked about those public commitments that are needed to run a business, such as when a customer can count on getting some capability, or when a...

Managing Commitments in an Agile Team

The past several articles have discussed the nature of Continuous Discovery and Dual-Track Agile.  In this article I’d like to discuss another dimension of working effectively in an Agile environment, which is how we manage commitments. In most Agile teams, when...
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