Lead Engineer as Product Owner

Many companies I meet are confused about roles and responsibilities.  They’re not sure the difference between product managers and project managers, or between product managers and product marketing, or between product managers and interaction designers, as just...

Lessons From Leaders

One thing I love to do when I visit with companies is collect their favorite quotes and mantras.  It helps me to understand their culture and their values.  We all deal with certain truths about building technology products, and I find that certain quotes resonate...

Product Marketing Contribution

Jane is supporting the launch of Product X, a new release her company is really excited about. She is on the marketing team. Armed with her launch checklist, she schedules a meeting with John, the product manager.  At the meeting, John answers all of her questions,...

Defining Good

I consistently get asked questions like the following: “Just look at Facebook/Amazon/Google (usually one of those three).  Don’t you think they have a terrible product?  How could they possibly be so successful?” No matter how many times I hear the...

The Product Manager Contribution

Recently I was asked by a very smart CTO: “I understand the need for a great user experience designer, but if we have a strong designer, and that person is paired with a strong technology lead, do we really still need a product manager?” For many teams,...

Product Management Then and Now

Occasionally in my work with technology product teams around the world, I run into product managers that are still practicing the role as it used to be defined back in the PC era of technology.  These organizations are inevitably frustrated, as the role was not...

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

All too often I run into companies that have resigned themselves to having two different people covering the product role. Usually the way they split it is they have one person responsible for interacting with customers and stakeholders (which they often call the...

The Greatest

It may have been Muhammad Ali in the boxing world, but in the product world, it’s hard to argue that Steve Jobs wasn’t the greatest ever. He tackled immensely difficult problems, and generated products that came to define their categories and literally change the...

Competition

One of the constants in our business is competition.  Very occasionally you find a company that has established a monopoly position, but for the most part, if the market you’re serving is a real market with real customers with real needs, you either have competitors...

Project-based Funding

If your company is one that still allocates product development funds based on approval of projects, then you still have the old “project-based funding model.”  This is mostly a situation in either large companies, or those that have an IT-style legacy, but the...
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