New Voices in Product

I’m often asked about the blogs I read and the people I look to for inspiration as to thought leadership when it comes to product.  Sadly, for several years I couldn’t give a very good answer to that, however, today there are some exceptional people that have...

An Open Letter To The Design Community

I hope that everyone that reads this knows that I am one of the biggest advocates in our industry for user experience.  Because I generally work with the CEO’s, VP Product, and product managers of technology companies, I am probably in the best position to explain to...

The Office Of Silicon Valley

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m all about true collaboration, where product leaders, designers and engineers work together to discover products that customers love.  Mostly I talk about the process and techniques involved in this, but today I wanted to talk...

You’re Not Helping

Most of my writing is aimed at the product organization, and in helping that organization evolve to where it needs to be to truly serve the needs of the company.    I have also written about how the leaders of the company can help facilitate this.  This article,...

The Domesticated Computer

In the early 1980’s, I was a very young software developer working at HP Labs, and this was when personal computers had been out just a few years.  The computers were getting faster and more powerful every few months, yet users really struggled to interact with them....

Technology First vs. Needs First

There’s a debate that’s been going on in the design and user research community because the legendary Don Norman wrote an essay in which he did an about-face and decided that doing user research to start a project was mostly a waste of time. That’s an...

Product Discovery for Non-Technology Products

Article: Product Discovery for Non-Technology Products I’m often asked whether or not the concepts that I advocate and write about are applicable to non-software products as well as the consumer and business internet services that I almost exclusively focus on.  My...

Dedicated Product Teams

In my last article I talked about the importance of knocking down walls, especially the wall between product management and engineering.  In this article, I want to describe a technique that helps achieve this, along with several other significant benefits. While...

Knocking Down Walls

One of the great things about startups is that they are so small that there’s almost no organizational structure to speak of.  Basically everyone there is just trying to create something people want. But as organizations grow, people start spending more of their time...

Regaining Your Product Mojo

In my last article, I talked about the problem where your product organization has been relegated to the role of a service organization, largely documenting the decisions and desires of others.  I must have struck a chord because I received a record number of...

Product Management as a Service Organization

Product Management as a Service Organization Posted by Marty Cagan on January 13, 2010 Tags: best practices Probably one of the most common complaints I get from CEO’s of mid- to large-sized companies is the lack of innovation and thought leadership from their...

The Product Decade

I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be a product person than right now.  In fact, I’m fully expecting the decade about to begin to be far and away the most productive in terms of innovation. There are several reasons for this: First, the devices –...

No Silver Bullet

More than 20 years ago Fred Brooks published a seminal essay on the nature of software, called “No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering”.  If you’ve never read it I’d highly encourage it, as even though it’s ancient by the standards of our...

Outsourcing Core Competencies

I work exclusively with commercial software product organizations.  Organizations that must create products and services that thousands or millions of users must make an independent decision to use or buy.   This is in contrast to custom software companies that create...

Product Discovery Diary

When product managers and designers move from the very linear, Waterfall-based processes, to the much more iterative and exploratory discovery-based process that I and others advocate, they sometimes take a little while to appreciate and adapt to the fast pace and...

The Product Discovery Plan

In my last article, I discussed the situation where Product Discovery is essentially not discovery at all, but rather just a mad dash of just-in-time spec writing so that the engineers can be kept busy.  I discussed how important it is that the date not be driving...

Feed The Beast

For those that haven’t heard the term before, “feed the beast” refers to one of the most common problems with product teams, and one of the top reasons for failed projects.  It’s very easy to spot.  If you find a product manager that is scrambling to finish up his PRD...

Holistic View of Product

For a startup, where there’s typically just one product team, it’s not too hard for the leaders to keep in their heads a holistic view of the product.  However, this quickly becomes much tougher as the company grows first to a larger product and soon to multiple...

Product Discovery vs. Product Optimization

As readers of these articles know, I am a big fan of high-fidelity prototyping and user testing on current or prospective customers.  These techniques form the basis of Product Discovery; it’s the key to discovering the minimum viable product – a product solution that...

The Two-Week Rule

I need to interrupt my series of articles on product portfolio planning because over the past week I learned of three completely different companies that all had fairly disastrous product results for the same core reason: they delayed talking to customers until it was...
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