insights blog

What is a Product?

I promise this will not be one of those navel-gazing exercises.  This is going to be a very pragmatic article about a critical and fundamental topic. One of the consequences of the popularity of the earlier article on empowered product teams is that it uncovered...

Product Team FAQ

Every so often one of my articles seems to strike a chord, and this latest one on the difference between Product Teams and Feature Teams certainly seemed to do that.  I am grateful for the very positive response.  This morning I woke up to well over a hundred people...

Product vs. Feature Teams

This article is certain to upset many people. I’m sorry for that, but the degree of ongoing noise and confusion surrounding the role of product at tech companies is only getting worse.  Moreover, I see the issues and problematic behaviors getting institutionalized in...

Coaching – Collaboration

In this article, I continue the series on coaching product managers by talking about another critically important skill that is so often misunderstood or under-appreciated, and that is collaboration. Collaboration is one of those words that is used so often in so many...

Coaching – Thinking

So far in this series on coaching, I’ve described a tool for assessing a current or prospective product manager, and then provided detailed examples of how to craft a plan to help the product manager first reach competence, and then to reach her potential. We’ve...

Coaching – Managing Time

I’ve long said that to get the critically important work of a product manager done, you need on the order of four solid hours a day. To be clear, I’m not talking about e-mail or slack or meetings.  I mean quality time working on coming up with solutions to the...

Coaching – Owner vs. Employee

As many of you know, for the past several months I have focused my writing on helping managers of product managers provide better coaching of their people. The last several articles have provided a set of coaching tools and techniques designed to help you get your...

The Greatest Coach

I talk a lot about product culture and how important it is, but one inconvenient fact has always bothered me, which is that my favorite product companies – for example, Google, Apple and Amazon – all have such different cultures. I came to realize that the...

Coaching Tools – The Plan

In my previous article, I defined how I encourage managers of product managers to assess the current skill level of a product manager in order to identify skill gaps.  In this sequel to that article, I would like to share how I coach product managers on each of these...

Coaching Tools – The Assessment

NOTE: This article and the coaching tool it describes is an update to the older gap analysis tool described in Developing Strong Product Managers. In my last several articles, I have been focusing on coaching tools for helping managers of product managers to raise the...

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