Principles of Product Portfolio Planning

Over the last several months I have been working with some clients to revisit how they do product portfolio planning.  Essentially the process they use to determine where to invest and how much.   I’ve discussed the purpose and the common frustrations with how product...

Lessons from Amazon

Several people pointed me to this great little talk by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.  If you haven’t watched this yet you should.   I thought his talk did a great job highlighting a few key points that pertain to my current theme of product portfolio...

Lessons From Incubators

In the last couple articles I discussed product portfolio planning lessons we can learn from the Venture Capital industry. In this article I wanted to discuss a similar but different type of mechanism for managing product portfolio investments, known as business...

Your Business Plan is Wrong

In my last article on “Lessons From the VC Industry” I included some thoughts suggested by a VC friend of mine, Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital.  In his thoughts he shared with me he had another insight that I didn’t include because I thought it was so important...

Lessons from the VC Industry

In earlier articles we discussed the purpose of product portfolio planning and the frustrations with current product portfolio planning.  In this article I’d like to look outside the typical world of product companies to a related industry that is in the actual...

Frustrations of Product Portfolio Planning

Continuing with the series on product portfolio planning, earlier I enumerated the purpose and objectives of the product portfolio planning process, but in this article I wanted to discuss the common complaints from executives and product leadership alike about the...

The Product Scorecard

How does your CEO know that every product manager’s efforts are aligned with his business strategy? How does your CEO clearly communicate to your product managers the business priorities? How does your CEO know which product managers are making good decisions and...

Portfolio Grooming

I have never seen a technology product company that didn’t have more ideas they wanted to pursue, than capacity for pursuing them. So constrained resources is a reality of our world. Sadly, this keeps many companies from pursuing some truly promising products. Product...

The Purpose of Product Portfolio Planning

I am in the midst of a series of articles on product planning, but I’ve received several e-mails asking where this fits into the overall product organization, and the product discovery and product development processes, so I thought I’d make sure before proceeding...

Business Strategy vs. Product Strategy

In keeping with my recent theme of product planning, I’d like to focus in this article on an important distinction and source of frustration in many companies, and that has to do with the differences between business strategy and product strategy. Many companies...

The Board of Advisors

In my last article I began a series on the product planning process. I wanted to start by emphasizing that the most critical aspect to product planning is to have an effective mechanism for separating the good ideas from the bad (see The Seven Deadly Sins of Product...

The Seven Deadly Sins of Product Planning

Product planning is a big topic that many product organizations struggle with. It spans a range of activities including business strategy, product strategy, product roadmaps, portfolio management, opportunity assessments, project planning and tracking, and project...

Visiontyping and the Hands-On Executive

In my last article on Inspiring Product Leaders (see www.svpg.com/inspiring-product-leaders) I wrote about executives that are deeply involved in the company’s products, and I talked about how these are my favorite types of leaders for tech companies. Several of...

Inspiring Product Leaders

Last week Silicon Valley and the Internet industry lost one of its pioneers. For those that knew him, Mike Homer was unique and unforgettable. I worked for him for a time at Netscape, where he was the one of the principals there, initially running the marketing...

How To Kill Innovation

Last week I ran into two different software technology companies (neither in Silicon Valley) that had just recently brought in Six Sigma consultants. This caught me by surprise because it¹s been a very long time since I heard of a technology company even considering...

Product Roadmaps

I can¹t tell you how many times product managers have shown me their sophisticated spreadsheets and algorithms for prioritizing their long laundry list of feature requests (weighting various factors like cost, complexity, risk, customer impact, projected sales impact,...

Getting Past The Gatekeepers

Readers of my articles know that I believe that the single most important thing that a product manager does is to get his ideas in front of real target users. This is where real learning happens, and this is where you can discover a product that customers love....

Pleasure is Not the Absence of Pain

This time of year always gets me thinking about the nature of great products. Recently I was forwarded an article on Apple and the caption of a photo of an iPhone had this great line “Pleasure is Not the Absence of Pain.” This resonated with me because I...

Product Management in Economic Downturns

One consequence of having been around this industry for a while is that I¹ve seen several cycles. Sometimes the downsides are fairly minor and barely touch tech companies, and at other times nearly everyone has lay-offs, cost-cutting, consolidations, or worse. While...

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 ­...
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