Team Objectives – Overview

After many years of being a very vocal advocate for the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) technique, in the majority of companies I meet, I have stopped recommending the practice. That’s because, in so many companies, even though conceptually the technique is simple...

Product Strategy – Management

Continuing on our series on product strategy, at this point we have focused the organization on a small number of truly important problems, and we have identified the key insights that we will leverage, and have converted these insights into actions in the form of...

Product Strategy – Actions

Continuing with the series on product strategy, in this article we need to leverage our insights into action. At this point we have focused on a very small number of critical problems, and we have done the hard work to identify the key insights that power our product...

Product Strategy – Insights

Continuing with the product strategy series, in this article I’d like to discuss my favorite, yet the most difficult, aspect of product strategy, which is to generate, identify and leverage the insights that will provide the foundation of the product strategy. You’ve...

Product Strategy – Focus

To continue with our series on product strategy, in this article I’d like to focus on, well, focus.  The importance of truly “picking your battles” as an organization. And I don’t just mean deciding what to work on and not work on, but picking the few things that can...

Product Strategy – Overview

Ultimately, empowered product teams are all about giving teams hard problems to solve, and then giving them the space to solve them.  But, how do we decide which problems they should solve?  Answering that question is what product strategy is all about. Remarkably,...

The Coaching Series

Article: The Coaching Series Over a year ago I published an article on Empowered Product Teams that described the main focus of my work for the next couple years. As many of you know, most articles I write begin their life as a hope-to-be chapter in a future book.  I...

Coaching – Ethics

In this final article on the series on coaching, I’d like to discuss one of the most sensitive, yet potentially most important topics, and that is the subject of ethics. As readers of these articles know, the four big risks that every product team needs to consider...

Coaching – Happiness

This article may seem an odd topic.  You may be thinking that it’s not the manager’s job to be responsible for her team’s happiness. However, pretty much anyone that’s worked in tech for any amount of time knows that a manager can easily be responsible for a product...

Coaching – Strategic Context

To continue with our series on coaching, in this article I will be covering a different aspect of coaching, which has to do with ensuring the product manager has the necessary understanding of the broader business context in which her team is operating. I refer to...

Coaching – Decisions

In the last article I discussed the importance of integrity, and how it is the basis for decision-making in an empowered product team.  In this article, I’d like to focus on how I coach product managers in making good decisions. Remember that in feature teams, most of...

Coaching – Integrity

Returning to our series on coaching, this article and the next are tackling two of the toughest yet most crucial aspects of successful product management. In this article I will address integrity, and in the next we’ll discuss decision-making.  These two topics are...

Inside SVPG

This article is a bit different because I want to provide some insight into how SVPG works, and why we have chosen to set up the way we have.  I also have some pretty significant news which I’ll share as well, once I’ve provided some context. For those that don’t...

Coaching – Customer-Centricity

In this article I want to continue with the series on coaching, this time to help develop the critical trait of customer-centricity in the product manager. If you ask a CEO or a product manager if they care about their customers, you’ll usually get some sort of...

Coaching – Imposter Syndrome

I have a bit of a contrarian opinion on Imposter Syndrome. First, let me be clear that I believe Imposter Syndrome is a real thing.  In fact, I think most mentally healthy people (at least those that aren’t egomaniacs) doubt themselves and can feel insecure about...

What is a Product?

I promise this will not be one of those navel-gazing exercises.  This is going to be a very pragmatic article about a critical and fundamental topic. One of the consequences of the popularity of the earlier article on empowered product teams is that it uncovered...

Product Team FAQ

Every so often one of my articles seems to strike a chord, and this latest one on the difference between Product Teams and Feature Teams certainly seemed to do that.  I am grateful for the very positive response.  This morning I woke up to well over a hundred people...

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...