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...

Coaching – Managing Time

I’ve long said that to get the critically important work of a product manager done, you need on the order of four solid hours a day. To be clear, I’m not talking about e-mail or slack or meetings.  I mean quality time working on coming up with solutions to the...

Coaching – Owner vs. Employee

As many of you know, for the past several months I have focused my writing on helping managers of product managers provide better coaching of their people. The last several articles have provided a set of coaching tools and techniques designed to help you get your...

The Greatest Coach

I talk a lot about product culture and how important it is, but one inconvenient fact has always bothered me, which is that my favorite product companies – for example, Google, Apple and Amazon – all have such different cultures. I came to realize that the...

Coaching Tools – The Plan

In my previous article, I defined how I encourage managers of product managers to assess the current skill level of a product manager in order to identify skill gaps.  In this sequel to that article, I would like to share how I coach product managers on each of these...

Coaching Tools – The Assessment

NOTE: This article and the coaching tool it describes is an update to the older gap analysis tool described in Developing Strong Product Managers. In my last several articles, I have been focusing on coaching tools for helping managers of product managers to raise the...

Coaching Tools – The Narrative

In my last article I talked about the importance of the one on one coaching sessions between a manager and her product manager.  That technique is about providing an ongoing mechanism for helping the product manager to reach his or her potential. In this article, I’d...

Coaching Tools – The One on One

I’d be surprised if you haven’t at least heard about the coaching technique known as the “one on one” (aka “1:1”). And you’ve probably experienced some version yourself. But judging from my discussions with literally thousands of product managers and product leaders,...

More PM Problem Areas

Last month I published an article describing common areas of confusion I see product managers struggling with.  That article generated considerable discussion, and lead to some very good conversations.  It also made visible several other common problems, which I...

Common PM Problem Areas

Recently I was at a dinner with several product leaders, and I was asked what the most common areas of confusion I encounter in product teams today? I thought it was a good question, and I described several situations, and judging from their response at least, these...

Empowered Product Teams

Note: This is the narrative article version of a talk I’ve started giving recently at conferences, product meetups and corporate leadership teams.  It is a long read, but I believe it’s a critically important topic, and it lays out for people many of the topics I will...

Product Discovery at Apple

Apple is probably the most secretive company I know.  Especially given that they’re the most valuable company in the world, it’s remarkable how little has been written about how they actually discover and develop the technology-powered products that fuel their...

Tools and Processes

In my last article, Revenge of the PMO, I shared my views on the product development process called SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework).  It was a bit of a departure from my normal areas of focus, and the article caused a considerable stir, with more than an order of...

Scaling Agile FAQ

Recently I published an article Revenge of the PMO that argues against a particular framework for agile at scale known as SAFe.  This was a bit unusual for me in that I normally don’t like to write much about process because the topic is so religious to so many...

Revenge of the PMO

UPDATE: I just want to make very clear that I am in no way affiliated with any of the various Agile organizations or alliances.  We receive nor provide any funds to any of them.  That is our firm policy at SVPG.  My thoughts below are purely in the spirit of helping...

Skateboards vs. Cars Revisited

Nearly a year ago, one of my all-time favorite Agile coaches, Henrik Kniberg, published an article that I believe does an excellent job at explaining how engineering teams can leverage the concept of an MVP and ensure they are getting the core value out of Agile...

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...