Strategy vs. Execution

It’s funny how often I’m asked whether I am a “strategy guy” or an “execution guy.” I completely understand the reason for the question, as I think it’s true that most people prefer one or the other; in fact, they often very strongly prefer one or the other, or...

Succeeding With Remote Development

One of the most common situations today is where the product manager is in one location, and the engineering team is somewhere else. I don’t only mean outsourcing to India either – the remote development team might be a consequence of an acquisition or merger, or...

Meeting Hell

Do you ever feel like you come in early, work frantically until late in the evening, day after day, week after week, yet at the end of the month you didn’t get anything important done? Is your day packed with back-to-back meetings, with bursts of e-mail in between? If...

Product vs. Marketing

In many product organizations there are problems between product and marketing. The problems might range from mild friction to downright dysfunction. In theory, there shouldn’t be a problem. The product team is trying to create a product that customers will love, and...

Where Should Product Management Live?

The single most frequent question I get from product leaders in companies both large and small, is where should product management live? The choices are most often engineering or marketing. While if you have the right personalities, it can work in either place, I’m...

The Smartest Guy in the Room

As product people, we’re first and foremost in the idea business. We have to come up with great ideas and then make them a reality. While this takes skill and practice, the main ingredient is something that I don’t know how to teach. We depend on smart people for the...

Growing Pains

In the last newsletter I spoke about the differences between large and small product companies, and how different they are and how different type of people thrive (and struggle) at each. However, I did not talk about the case where a small company quickly grows into a...

Does Size Matter?

Two questions I get a lot are: “Is now the time to join one of the cool new startups?” and “The startup I’m at isn’t doing so well, should I join one of the big guys that’s hiring so aggressively right now?” I’ve worked in all sized companies, from brand new startups,...

Gentle Deployment

One of the fun things about working on a 1.0 product is that you get to start fresh with your community of users. It’s true that your user base is still influenced by other products and services that they’ve been exposed to, but overall you don’t have to worry much...

Outwit-Outlast-Outplay

Sometimes being a product manager can feel like being on Survivor, and worrying about your product team voting you out at the next product council. Product management is hard. Leading a product team is hard. You make countless decisions, and not all of them will be...