The Purpose of Product Portfolio Planning

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...

Business Strategy vs. Product Strategy

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. Many companies...

The Board of Advisors

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...

The Seven Deadly Sins of Product Planning

Product planning is a big topic that many product organizations struggle with. It spans a range of activities including business strategy, product strategy, product roadmaps, portfolio management, opportunity assessments, project planning and tracking, and project...

Visiontyping and the Hands-On Executive

In my last article on Inspiring Product Leaders (see www.svpg.com/inspiring-product-leaders) I wrote about executives that are deeply involved in the company’s products, and I talked about how these are my favorite types of leaders for tech companies. Several of...

Inspiring Product Leaders

Last week Silicon Valley and the Internet industry lost one of its pioneers. For those that knew him, Mike Homer was unique and unforgettable. I worked for him for a time at Netscape, where he was the one of the principals there, initially running the marketing...

How To Kill Innovation

Last week I ran into two different software technology companies (neither in Silicon Valley) that had just recently brought in Six Sigma consultants. This caught me by surprise because it¹s been a very long time since I heard of a technology company even considering...

Product Roadmaps

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,...

Getting Past The Gatekeepers

Readers of my articles know that I believe that the single most important thing that a product manager does is to get his ideas in front of real target users. This is where real learning happens, and this is where you can discover a product that customers love....

Pleasure is Not the Absence of Pain

This time of year always gets me thinking about the nature of great products. Recently I was forwarded an article on Apple and the caption of a photo of an iPhone had this great line “Pleasure is Not the Absence of Pain.” This resonated with me because I...

Product Management in Economic Downturns

One consequence of having been around this industry for a while is that I¹ve seen several cycles. Sometimes the downsides are fairly minor and barely touch tech companies, and at other times nearly everyone has lay-offs, cost-cutting, consolidations, or worse. While...

Product Manager vs. Business Analyst

In certain companies, mostly those that have an IT heritage (see http://svpg.com/moving-from-it-to-product-organization), there may be an additional role somewhere in the product organization ­ either in product management or in the product development organization ­...

Laid Off; Now What?

Many of you probably saw that eBay recently had a lay-off, and given the condition of the economy they are not likely to be the only one doing so. What I wanted to talk about in this article was what to do if you find yourself in the same boat. Others talk about...

Product Managers vs. Business Owners

In some companies, mostly larger companies with multiple business units, there is an additional role in the product mix. This role typically comes about when you have a matrix organization where a common product organization is responsible for serving the needs of...

Moving From Enterprise To Consumer

Occasionally a company starts its life as one type of business but then finds that they need to change into another type of business. The most common such transition I see is to start by building products for very large companies (enterprises), but then decide you...

Left Of The Line

I picked up this phrase “left of the line” from my friends at the e-commerce site kbb.com. At the highest level, creating software products involves figuring out what to build, and then building it. This line distinguishes those two fundamental activities. Note that...

Product Management and Risk

In a very real sense, every product manager is in the risk management business. Every investment decision we make represents a risk. Should we go for a big project that can potentially redefine our position, or maybe a handful of medium-sized efforts, or continue...

Product Management Certification?

Occasionally product managers will ask me if they should get “certified” as a product manager. There are half a dozen or so organizations that have created their own “product management certification” programs. Now, I do not blame any of these organizations in the...

What’s a Beta?

For years people have been arguing about what the real purpose of a “beta” is. I used to argue this point as well, but today the term is so ambiguous that we all just need to accept that the term can be used for many different purposes, and what’s important to you is...

Global Product Management

One of the amazing things about doing web-based products and services is watching how quickly the service gets adopted internationally. With global access, and with good site analytics tools, we can see the service start to spread around the globe. But these of course...
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