Conway’s Law for Product Organizations

org-to-app

Conway’s Law is an old but useful idea: the organizational structure of software teams shows in their code. The technical architecture grows to look like the org chart. In broader terms, how we group people and delineate teams has a real impact on the products we produce. How does this apply to product management teams?

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Product Manager Shortage: Suddenly Sexy?

Now-hiring-keyboard

There are thousands of open product management jobs: suddenly product management seems sexy. Optimism and Pessimist argue about whether product management’s value shifts with the fashion.

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Stockholm: Market Insights Conference

insight

I was honored to keynote Tolpagorni’s annual Market Insights conference in Stockholm. We talked about Silicon Valley’s strong network effect for tech companies and workshopped early validation of product ideas, waterfall Lean, Innovation Games and ways to get actionable insights ahead of full development commitment.

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Why You’ll (Eventually) Need a Product Manager at Your Startup

ProductsThatCount

Oct 23rd talk for “Products That Count”: Very early stage startups don’t have dedicated product managers / product owners. But once they get to 30 people or have a few big-revenue customers, lack of product management can be disastrous. We will talk about symptoms, what product managers/owners really do, and tips for scaling up.

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Mentoring Product Managers: Case Method as Well as Tools

sprout-plant

As mentors, we should be demonstrating context, judgment and decision-making models – not just sharing templates. Our mentees should be demanding that we give them the big picture.

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5 Things To Do In Your First Week with a New Product

calendar-days

If you’re already a product manager and stepping in to take over an existing product (or parachuting in as a consultant), you need to find your feet quickly. Here’s my checklist for that first week, and the first month.

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Tuesday is Female Pronoun Persona Day

she-needs

As a long-time B2B infrastructure product manager, I’m used to thinking about my customers as guys. IT managers and directors, 30-50, developers or sys admins who’ve been pushed up into management, frustrated, under-appreciated and under-resourced, pale from weekends spent inside… I’m exaggerating on purpose. Rrecent chats with three women who run IT groups reminded me that we (product managers) need to channel our diverse customer base — wherever it leads us.

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Enhancement Requests are Personal and Political, Not Just Analytical

steam-head

As data-driven product managers, we’d like to pretend that incoming technical requests are simply transactional. In the real world, though, real people and real agendas are involved. And that means there’s a personal and political context to consider when prioritizing demands on our already-overloaded development organization.

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The Power of a Few Customer Calls

rotary phone

Talking with even a few users/customers can make the difference between potentially good ideas and actual improvement. Between “I think…” and “here’s what I heard from live customers…”

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We Don’t Hire Product Owners Here

Help Wanted, product owners need not apply

We’re filling product owner slots internally, without much regard to skills or long-term success. Or leaving these slots open for development teams to fill as they may. That’s a road to market failure. We need to be thoughtful, intentional and organizationally savvy about picking and mentoring product owners.

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