insights blog

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...

Coaching Tools – The Narrative

In my last article I talked about the importance of the one on one coaching sessions between a manager and her product manager.  That technique is about providing an ongoing mechanism for helping the product manager to reach his or her potential. In this article, I’d...

Coaching Tools – The One on One

I’d be surprised if you haven’t at least heard about the coaching technique known as the “one on one” (aka “1:1”). And you’ve probably experienced some version yourself. But judging from my discussions with literally thousands of product managers and product leaders,...

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