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...

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...

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...

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...

Product Management Models Part 2

In a recent article (The Best Product Management Model) I discussed the notion that there is no single best product management model, and that the most effective model for a given company depends on a wide range of factors. I received several comments from people...

The Best Product Management Model?

One question I get quite frequently is “Google is making boatloads of money, so how can we do product management like Google?” Or another common variant is “Apple creates fantastic products. How can we do product management like Apple?” You can understand why some...

Seed, Feed and Weed to Succeed

By Marty Abbott In my earlier article I used the sports management analogy to make the case for actively managing the skills, skill levels and composition of your team. In this note I’ll discuss the topic of how to manage those activities. For this, we’ll leave sports...
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