CEO of the Product Revisited

The concept of the product manager as CEO of the Product has been one of the more controversial and polarizing topics in product, and most people are either strongly against this metaphor or strongly for it. In truth, I’ve been conflicted. I was first exposed to the...

Waterfall Deconstructed

It’s hard to find anyone that actually defends a Waterfall process anymore.  Agile methods might have their flaws, but at least they are usually much lesser flaws than Waterfall. Yet I actually meet many teams that claim to be practitioners of Agile and Lean, yet when...

Principles

If you’ve had a chance to read the new edition of INSPIRED, you hopefully noticed that in this version I decided to focus quite heavily on the principles underlying modern tech product management: I want to be clear as to why you’ll see so many principles called out...

The Four Big Risks

In the first edition of my book, INSPIRED, I discussed how successful products are valuable, usable and feasible, where I defined “feasible” as both technically feasible and business feasible. While it’s easy to remember these three attributes, over...

INSPIRED V2

I’m happy to announce the results of my big project over the past year, which was to produce and release the second edition of INSPIRED: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love. The book could just as easily been characterized as “Volume 2” because it is not so...

Customer Inspired; Technology Enabled

One of the most enduring myths in the product world is that great products result from listening to your customers (or prospective customers).  But just as Jeff Bezos said in his latest Shareholder Letter, “No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime...

Process vs. Model

There’s an old saying which comes from the world of statistics: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”  This has always resonated with me.  While conceptual models are never perfect, I find them to be an especially powerful tool for explaining important...

Analyzing Product Strategy

One of the key responsibilities of a strong product manager or product leader is to understand your market and industry; which trends are relevant, what the competitive landscape looks like, how business models are evolving, and the broader industry dynamics.  There...

Communicating Product Learnings

Sharing what we learn in a startup typically happens naturally because the product team and the company are pretty much the same thing.  However, as companies scale, this becomes substantially more difficult, yet it also becomes increasingly important to do. A...

The Customer Letter

In this article I’d like to discuss another discovery framing technique. For smaller and more typical size product discovery efforts, the opportunity assessment is usually sufficient.  But when embarking on a somewhat larger effort, there may in fact be multiple...

The GPM Role

I’ve been working with several companies that are experiencing rapid growth, and there’s a role in these growth-stage product organizations that I find especially effective. The role is titled “Group Product Manager,” usually referred to as “GPM.”  The role has been...

My Favorite PM Interview Question

I’m going to share here one of my favorite interview questions, even though that means I won’t really be able to use it anymore.  But I’ve got lots of others, and I think this is valuable for all product managers to consider where they stand on this, and why. One of...

Focus on Value

I have a little heuristic which I find useful.  If I see a particular issue going on in at least three companies at the same time, I figure it’s a common and serious enough issue that it’s worth writing about.  In truth, I’ve already written about...

Beyond Lean and Agile

I have been working exclusively with technology product teams now for a full 35 years, and I’ve seen countless processes, methodologies and techniques come and go.   In large part that’s the nature of the beast.  People are always searching for a silver bullet, and...

Product Manager vs. Product Owner Revisited

Five years ago I wrote an article arguing that it is essential that the product manager is also the product owner.  My motivation, which I made no secret of, was that I was worried about this point because more than a few companies were using the relatively new role...

Planning Product Discovery

Much of product discovery work doesn’t actually require a lot of planning. We need to come up with a solution to a particular problem, and often this is straight forward, and we can proceed quickly to delivery work.  But for certain efforts, this is decidedly...

Why Women Make The Best Product Managers

Recently I gave a keynote address to the Mind The Product Conference in London, and in that talk I wanted to illustrate, by example, the essential role that very strong product managers play for their team and their company.  Most people noticed that all six of my...

Behind Every Great Product

When I first decided to start The Silicon Valley Product Group, I had just left eBay and had some very strong opinions about what makes great product teams, and great product cultures…

Vision vs. Strategy

Overview In recent articles on keys to product success and the alternative to roadmaps I have highlighted that if you want the benefits of product team empowerment and autonomy, then you need to provide each team with the necessary context in which to make good...

Technology-Powered Disruption

Most people by now have read Marc Andreessen’s Why Software Is Eating The World.   This was written back in 2011, and I’ve been watching his predictions play out in companies all around the world.  While my focus is primarily on technology-powered software products,...
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