The Product Manager Contribution

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?” For many teams,...

Product Management Then and Now

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...

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

All too often I run into companies that have resigned themselves to having two different people covering the product role. Usually the way they split it is they have one person responsible for interacting with customers and stakeholders (which they often call the...

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...

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...

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...

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...
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