The Greatest

It may have been Muhammad Ali in the boxing world, but in the product world, it’s hard to argue that Steve Jobs wasn’t the greatest ever. He tackled immensely difficult problems, and generated products that came to define their categories and literally change the...

Minimum Viable Product

One of the most important concepts in all of software is the notion of minimum viable product (often referred to as “MVP”).  But if you’ve been around software products for a while, you know that term is used in many different ways, and while the term intuitively...

Competition

One of the constants in our business is competition.  Very occasionally you find a company that has established a monopoly position, but for the most part, if the market you’re serving is a real market with real customers with real needs, you either have competitors...

Project-based Funding

If your company is one that still allocates product development funds based on approval of projects, then you still have the old “project-based funding model.”  This is mostly a situation in either large companies, or those that have an IT-style legacy, but the...

Product Evangelism

In my last article I wrote about the importance of product passion, and I said that one of the reasons this passion is necessary is for product evangelism. Product evangelism is, as Guy Kawasaki put it years ago, “selling the dream.”  It’s helping people to imagine...

Product Passion

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...

The Two Core Competencies

Good product teams must be good at product discovery, which means they must get good at learning quickly.  They need to be able to zero in on the appropriate target customer, identify the key problems to solve for those customers, and typically the most difficult part...

The Most Important Thing

There are several skills and activities that are important when coming up with great products.  In my last article, I argued for the absolute necessity of having good data about how our products are actually being used. But in the this article I want to argue that the...

Flying Blind

I know this topic is going to sound far-fetched to many of you, but I am finding too many product teams out there that either aren’t instrumenting their product or site to collect analytics, or they do it at such a minor level that they really don’t know what users...

Preparing For War

For many years now I have recommended the classic book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” because I think it does such a good job explaining an important dynamic I see at larger companies.  However, I have come to believe that The Innovator’s Dilemma is actually describing the...

The Importance Of Failing

Recently a friend of mine sent me a link to this short video from totally outside of the technology field.  The video is called “Why You Need to Fail” and it’s by Derek Sivers.  Even though the examples are from very different domains, I thought that this short video...

Developing Strong Product Managers

In my last article I discussed the role of the leader of the product organization.  I heard back from more than a few product leaders that it served to remind them that they weren’t doing as much as they knew they should be doing to build the strength of their product...

The VP Product Role

If you take a look at the list of open product positions at the end of my recent newsletter, you’ll notice a record number of VP/Director of Product positions.  In part this reflects the growth we are experiencing in our industry.  However, it also represents an...

Product Discovery With Live-Data Prototypes

In my last article I discussed the keys to product optimization including A/B testing.  However, I emphasized that this type of A/B testing is not the same as the A/B testing we do during product discovery.  In this article I’d like to talk more about how we utilize...

Consensus vs. Collaboration

While mostly I focus on the techniques and best practices for creating great products, I have truly come to appreciate just how important culture is in contributing to great products.  By culture I am including both company culture as well as the cultures of the...

Beyond Usability

In this article I wanted to try to make the case that as an industry we need to expand the focus of User Experience well beyond usability. Most of you hopefully already know that User Experience is much more than usability.  But even those of you that do may be...

Process Police

Readers of my book and articles know how much I value a strong project manager.  I’ve written earlier about the positive impact to velocity a great project manager can have (see http://www.svpg.com/ebay_secret_weapon/ and...

Defining Product

In the consumer packaged goods industry, most people have a pretty clear image in mind when you refer to the “product” that they manage or work on.   You can hold the bar of soap or the razor in your hand.  However, in the Internet world, when we refer to “product” it...

Big Bang Releases

What is a “Big Bang” release? This is when a team works for several months on a project with the intention of pushing it live in one big product creation event. Note that Big Bang is not necessarily the same as Waterfall, but it is an all too common consequence of...

Requirements Are Not

I’m not the first person to come to this conclusion, but over the years, I’ve really come to dislike the entire concept of a “requirement.” I’ve learned that so many things that look like “requirements” really are just a perception, or assumption, or an illusion....
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