insights blog

Don’t talk to Customers?

Every so often I meet a product manager that tells me that they are not allowed to talk to their users or customers. Sometimes it’s because the sale reps want to control all access; or maybe it’s because marketing is supposed to be the interface with the customer; and...

The Origins of Agile

If your engineering team hasn’t already moved to some form of Agile methods (like Scrum or XP), then it’s likely they’re at least considering it. Agile really does attack some key problems that have plagued software teams for decades. But many product managers and...

Measuring Product Managers

Very often I’m asked how product managers should be measured. I have long believed that the only true measure of the product manager is the success of his or her product. While I still believe that, it’s not a very satisfying answer, as it’s not clear what the best...

Roles and Ratios

Last week I attended a truly unusual conference (www.gelconference.com).  Anyway, as I was walking around I met quite a few people that recognized my name from the newsletter, and soon it became apparent that there’s some common questions out there, and I thought I’d...

Design vs. Implementation

NOTE: "Design" below refers to User Experience Design, and not Architectural or Systems Design. There are many things in the software development process that can and should be done in parallel. For example, I have long argued that requirements and design (again, user...

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...

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