insights blog

Lessons From Leaders

One thing I love to do when I visit with companies is collect their favorite quotes and mantras.  It helps me to understand their culture and their values.  We all deal with certain truths about building technology products, and I find that certain quotes resonate...

Product Scorecard Stages

Normally I like to keep my newsletters to discussions of organization, process and best practices that I believe apply to nearly all technology companies, and I limit the number of product-specific techniques I discuss because of that.  I save the product-specific...

Product Marketing Contribution

Jane is supporting the launch of Product X, a new release her company is really excited about. She is on the marketing team. Armed with her launch checklist, she schedules a meeting with John, the product manager.  At the meeting, John answers all of her questions,...

Defining Good

I consistently get asked questions like the following: "Just look at Facebook/Amazon/Google (usually one of those three).  Don't you think they have a terrible product?  How could they possibly be so successful?" No matter how many times I hear the question, I always...

Live-Data Prototypes vs. Production

I have written earlier about the differences between user prototypes (simulations intended to test the user experience), and live-data prototypes (actual code intended to send live traffic to in order to test real behavior). ...

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, the...

Viable Product vs. Minimal Product

To continue on the series of articles describing the critically important concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), in this article I wanted to contrast the concept of Viable Product with what I call "Minimal Product." So often I meet teams that tell me that they have...

Social Contract for Product Managers

If I were starting my career in product today, I would do anything I could to get into a very innovative program at Stanford called the Stanford Design School (aka "d.school").  I absolutely love the curriculum and the faculty.  But this article is not really about...

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...

Measuring Innovation

Measuring innovation is a popular topic lately.  Many product teams use Product Scorecards to keep their focus on outcomes rather than output.   Eric Ries introduced the term “Innovation Accounting” for this purpose as well. However, as much as I like and advocate for...

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