insights blog

Engineering Wants to Rewrite!

Few words are more dreaded by product managers than being told by engineering: “No more new features! We need to stop and rewrite! Our code base is a mess, it can’t keep up with the number of users, it’s a house of cards, we can’t maintain it, the site is a dog!” This...

That Dog Won’t Hunt

In the previous article I argued for some very significant changes to the way most teams produce software. Several of you wrote to me and asked that I elaborate on my final point, which had to do with the fact that once you have a product definition that works, you...

Great Products By Design

I do not believe great products happen by accident. In every case, behind every great product I find that there are certain truths. Today I want to share ten such truths. I try to keep these in mind on every product effort: 1. Engineering is important, but user...

The Product Council

Even in small companies, getting decisions made is often time-consuming and frustrating. Every product company needs a mechanism to get the key stakeholders and decision makers together to make timely and informed product decisions. My favorite way to ensure this is...

Lessons from Apple

I have to admit to a strong bias up front: I love Apple. I think they’re responsible for some of the best technology products our industry has produced in the past 25 years, and I have been a fan of the company since the Lisa (which I consider a prototype for the...

Innovating in Large Companies

In the last article, we discussed techniques for getting stuff done in a large company. Now I’d like to talk about the related problem of innovating in a large company. There is a lot of cynicism out there about whether or not you can really innovate in a big company....

Thriving in Large Companies

Many of my readers work in large companies, including Adobe, Amazon, AOL, Apple, eBay, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, and Yahoo, and two of the most consistent themes from your questions and comments are: “how do I get things done in a large company?” and “how do I...

Assessing Product Opportunities

Recently I’ve written about reinventing the product spec, and the reasons to move from a heavy-weight PRD to a light-weight high-fidelity prototype as the basis for your product spec. But where do these ideas come from, and how do you decide if you even want to build...

Strategy vs. Execution

It’s funny how often I’m asked whether I am a “strategy guy” or an “execution guy.” I completely understand the reason for the question, as I think it’s true that most people prefer one or the other; in fact, they often very strongly prefer one or the other, or...

Help Prevent User Abuse

What is User Abuse? It is when you unnecessarily and (hopefully) unintentionally mistreat your users by releasing changes to the user community that they don’t appreciate. I know it’s hard to believe that not every one of your users is waiting excitedly for all of...

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