The Power of Customer Misbehavior

There are of course many ways to come up with significant new product ideas.  Historically, the two main approaches have been: 1) to try to assess the market opportunities and pick potentially lucrative areas where significant pain exists; and 2) to look at what the...

Shared Learning

One of the tenets of Product Discovery, Lean UX and Lean Startup methodology in general, is to try and avoid or reduce waste.  Mostly that means tackling the situation where we design, build, test and deploy a solution that fails to meet its objectives.  However, in...

Establishing a True Product Culture

In my last article I discussed the differences between an IT Mindset and a Product Mindset.  I must have struck a chord because I heard from so many people, from all over the world, that they were stuck in an “IT Mindset” organization.  Unsurprisingly, their next...

Product vs. IT Mindset

The role of the product organization is to consistently deliver significant new value to the business through continuous product innovation.  At a startup, the product team either innovates and provides real value or the startup dies.  However, in larger, more...

The Internal Agency Model

I have long written about the importance of dedicated, durable product teams and that we should always strive to optimize for the team and not for the individual function (e.g. product management, user experience design, engineering, test automation, data science,...

Profit and Loss Responsibility

One question that I continue to get from many company leaders is whether or not product managers should be given P&L responsibility for their products. The origin of this question comes from the days when companies had a portfolio of products where each product...

The Delivery Manager Role

I have always been interested in taking the holistic view of product teams and understanding and appreciating each and every critical role.  In a recent article I wrote about the dynamics of strong teams versus weak teams, and judging from the response to that...

Good Product Team / Bad Product Team

NOTE: My friend and colleague Jeff Patton is the author of an upcoming book on the general topic of User Stories and especially the technique of Story Mapping.  I was asked to write a foreword for this new book, and this article is an excerpt from the foreword.  I was...

Milestone Swarming

In my last article, I discussed the power of milestones and I promised I’d talk about one of my favorite techniques for rapidly delivering on milestones.  First, as a reminder, by milestone I mean delivering on some significant achievement for your business.  This...

The Power of Milestones

In this article I wanted to talk about a concept that seems to be increasingly missing in product teams. I find too many product teams just pounding away on the product backlog, story by story.  Too many members of the team don’t really know how and why the stories...

Flavors of Analytics

In an earlier article (Flavors of Prototypes) I heard from many people about how it helped them to see prototypes in a new and more powerful light. Even though I had written previously about each separately, putting them together can help people get the big picture....

Flavors of Prototypes

Prototypes of various forms have been around for as long as we’ve been doing software, since the famous Fred Brooks quote: “plan to throw one away, you will anyway.” However, many things have changed.  Not the least of which is that the tools and techniques we have...

The Role of Analytics

One of the most significant changes in how we do product today is our use of analytics.   Any capable product leader today is expected to be comfortable with data, and understand how to leverage analytics to learn and improve quickly. Note: For the purposes of this...

Product Market Fit

In earlier articles I’ve discussed various aspects of Minimum Viable Product (which I like to refer to as MVP Tests to avoid any confusion with an actual product). In this article I’d like to say more about the critical concept of Product Market Fit. The term was...

Epic Waste

Much has been written about waste at startups.  I started writing about this as far back as 2005 (see Startup Product Management), and this concept is at the core of the Lean Startup movement. Lately there’s been much talk and ink about waste in government technology...

Personas for Product Management

Product: eBay Seller Tools Pete the Power Seller Background Pete is a 46-year-old male that lives in Fresno and runs a small motorcycle parts business.  While he does maintain a small brick-and-mortar shop, almost all of his sales come from eBay, where he sells on...

Product Discovery in Established Companies

Much has been written about how to do product discovery in startups, by me and many other people.   There are many challenges for startups, most importantly, survival.  But one of the real advantages from a product point of view is that there’s no legacy to drag...

The End Of Requirements

When I start working with product teams, one of the first things I try to do is to get them to stop thinking of their job as one of gathering and documenting requirements.  In fact, I try to get them to stop thinking in terms of requirements at all. Most requirements...

The Biggest Risk

One of the things I like about a Lean Canvas is it helps to quickly highlight the key assumptions and major risks facing a startup or a significant new product in an existing business.  This is a good thing.   The idea is to tackle the biggest risks first....

The Power of Reference Customers

Our job in the product organization is to create products that can sustain a business.  Make no mistake about it: everything depends on strong products. Without these strong products, our marketing programs require customer acquisition costs that are too high; our...
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