Product Management vs. Product Marketing

Industry pundits claim that 9 out of 10 product releases are failures in that they don’t meet their goals. I don’t know if that’s the exact stat or not, but I bet it’s not far off. I do believe strongly that most releases are ill-conceived. Countless release cycles...

Estimating Project Costs

Even though we’ve been estimating project costs since the beginning of software, it’s remarkable to me how much confusion remains. I think the root cause of this confusion is that management needs cost information very early in the process, yet engineering...

Make a Friend in Finance

How many of you understand the economics of your product? Do you know your exact revenue model? Do you know the total costs of your product? Do you know how much you pay for each new customer? Do you know their lifetime value to the company? Do you know the return...

Don’t talk to Customers?

Every so often I meet a product manager that tells me that they are not allowed to talk to their users or customers. Sometimes it’s because the sale reps want to control all access; or maybe it’s because marketing is supposed to be the interface with the customer; and...

Measuring Product Managers

Very often I’m asked how product managers should be measured. I have long believed that the only true measure of the product manager is the success of his or her product. While I still believe that, it’s not a very satisfying answer, as it’s not clear what the best...

Design vs. Implementation

NOTE: “Design” below refers to User Experience Design, and not Architectural or Systems Design. There are many things in the software development process that can and should be done in parallel. For example, I have long argued that requirements and design...

That Dog Won’t Hunt

In the previous article I argued for some very significant changes to the way most teams produce software. Several of you wrote to me and asked that I elaborate on my final point, which had to do with the fact that once you have a product definition that works, you...

Lessons from Apple

I have to admit to a strong bias up front: I love Apple. I think they’re responsible for some of the best technology products our industry has produced in the past 25 years, and I have been a fan of the company since the Lisa (which I consider a prototype for the...

Innovating in Large Companies

In the last article, we discussed techniques for getting stuff done in a large company. Now I’d like to talk about the related problem of innovating in a large company. There is a lot of cynicism out there about whether or not you can really innovate in a big company....

Thriving in Large Companies

Many of my readers work in large companies, including Adobe, Amazon, AOL, Apple, eBay, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, and Yahoo, and two of the most consistent themes from your questions and comments are: “how do I get things done in a large company?” and “how do I...