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 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 Passion

One topic I’ve never written explicitly about is the need for product passion.  I’ve referenced it at the top of the list of traits for good product leaders, but it’s easy to take this for granted especially since the people I surround myself with professionally are...

The VP Product Role

If you take a look at the list of open product positions at the end of my recent newsletter, you’ll notice a record number of VP/Director of Product positions.  In part this reflects the growth we are experiencing in our industry.  However, it also represents an...

Consensus vs. Collaboration

While mostly I focus on the techniques and best practices for creating great products, I have truly come to appreciate just how important culture is in contributing to great products.  By culture I am including both company culture as well as the cultures of the...

Factors in Structuring a Product Organization

For nearly every organization that has grown beyond a very early stage startup, one of the most common, yet difficult, questions is the optimal way to split up the product work.  As soon as you have more than one product manager, or more than one interaction designer,...

The CEO as Head of Product

One question I’m often asked is whether an early stage startup needs to hire a product manager or head of product.  The answer really depends on the skills of the founders, especially the CEO.  Much more often than not, I see the CEO as the head of product, and I...

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...