insights blog

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...

Succeeding With Remote Development

One of the most common situations today is where the product manager is in one location, and the engineering team is somewhere else. I don’t only mean outsourcing to India either – the remote development team might be a consequence of an acquisition or merger, or...

Revisiting the Product Spec

I think the product spec is long overdue for a renovation. Some would argue that Agile methods accomplish this by doing away with the spec altogether. I’ve written about some of the issues and limitations of Agile methods elsewhere, but in many respects I think they...

Meeting Hell

Do you ever feel like you come in early, work frantically until late in the evening, day after day, week after week, yet at the end of the month you didn’t get anything important done? Is your day packed with back-to-back meetings, with bursts of e-mail in between? If...

Product Management vs. Product Design

The last note discussed the different types of user interface design – interaction design and visual design – and tried to make the point that both are required for a good user experience. But the response surprised me. So many people wrote to me to complain that...

Usability vs. Aesthetics

I think most would agree that the general state of web site design is still in its infancy, at least as practiced by most companies. While there are some notable exceptions, many sites, even from major players, are often either very difficult to use, downright ugly,...

Product vs. Marketing

In many product organizations there are problems between product and marketing. The problems might range from mild friction to downright dysfunction. In theory, there shouldn’t be a problem. The product team is trying to create a product that customers will love, and...

Back to Basics

Normally I focus on the product definition aspects of creating successful products. My reasoning is simple: it doesn’t matter how great a job you do in building your product if it isn’t the right product. That’s really the role of the product manager; to define the...

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