Product Manager vs. Business Analyst

In certain companies, mostly those that have an IT heritage (see https://svpg.com/moving-from-it-to-product-organization), there may be an additional role somewhere in the product organization ­ either in product management or in the product development organization ­...

Laid Off; Now What?

Many of you probably saw that eBay recently had a lay-off, and given the condition of the economy they are not likely to be the only one doing so. What I wanted to talk about in this article was what to do if you find yourself in the same boat. Others talk about...

Product Managers vs. Business Owners

In some companies, mostly larger companies with multiple business units, there is an additional role in the product mix. This role typically comes about when you have a matrix organization where a common product organization is responsible for serving the needs of...

Moving From Enterprise To Consumer

Occasionally a company starts its life as one type of business but then finds that they need to change into another type of business. The most common such transition I see is to start by building products for very large companies (enterprises), but then decide you...

Left Of The Line

I picked up this phrase “left of the line” from my friends at the e-commerce site kbb.com. At the highest level, creating software products involves figuring out what to build, and then building it. This line distinguishes those two fundamental activities. Note that...

Product Management and Risk

In a very real sense, every product manager is in the risk management business. Every investment decision we make represents a risk. Should we go for a big project that can potentially redefine our position, or maybe a handful of medium-sized efforts, or continue...

Product Management Certification?

Occasionally product managers will ask me if they should get “certified” as a product manager. There are half a dozen or so organizations that have created their own “product management certification” programs. Now, I do not blame any of these organizations in the...

What’s a Beta?

For years people have been arguing about what the real purpose of a “beta” is. I used to argue this point as well, but today the term is so ambiguous that we all just need to accept that the term can be used for many different purposes, and what’s important to you is...

Global Product Management

One of the amazing things about doing web-based products and services is watching how quickly the service gets adopted internationally. With global access, and with good site analytics tools, we can see the service start to spread around the globe. But these of course...

Subject Matter Experts

I have already written about all the common roles in a product team, but in some companies, there is another role that exists and it goes by various ntitles including Subject Matter Experts (SME), Domain Experts, and Business Analysts. The defining characteristics of...

Moving from an IT to a Product Organization

Quite a few companies that exist today began life as something other than a product or Internet software company. Perhaps your company began as a large brick-and-mortar retailer, or an airline, or a financial services company. While it is true that these companies all...

Product Strategy in an Agile World

Recently I spoke with a team of very frustrated Scrum engineers. They were frustrated because they felt like all they were doing for the past year was chasing features and that the product manager really had no clue where they were heading or what they were really...

What Makes a Great CTO?

The job of the product manager is to define the products that the product development organization will build. Even with the greatest product ideas, if you can’t build and launch your service, it remains just an idea. So your relationship with the product development...

Avoiding Design By Committee

One of the big advantages that startups have is that there aren’t many people. As companies get larger (even a little bit larger), one of the very common consequences is that decisions become group activities. Stakeholders pop up from every direction. The notion of...

Market Discovery vs. Product Discovery

In earlier articles I’ve written about the product discovery process – discovering a product that is valuable, usable and feasible. I’ve explained that this is the primary responsibility of the product manager, and that product discovery requires a collaboration...

High-Fidelity Prototypes

In several earlier articles I have talked about aspects of prototypes. I’ve talked about using them as the basis for your product spec, and how to use them to test out your ideas on target users, and why I prefer high-fidelity prototypes to their lower-fidelity...

Product Organizational Structure

In earlier articles I have discussed the key roles in the product organization – product managers, project managers, interaction designers, visual designers, usability engineers, prototypers, engineers, architects, QA and product marketing – and I’ve also discussed...

Eating Dog Food?

I’m not sure how many of you have heard the phrase, “we eat our own dog food,” but for several years at least, companies especially in Silicon Valley have used this phrase in order to impress their customers that their product is so good that they run their business...

Moving From Engineering To Product Management

In the last article I talked about the role of architects and engineers in the product discovery process. I explained that great products come from the collaboration of the product manager, user experience designer and architect/engineer. I often get approached by...

The Architect Role

The job of the product manager is first and foremost to discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible. You’re wasting the rest of your team’s time, and your company’s money, if you can’t do this. But this doesn’t mean that you have to discover this product...