How Well Can You Predict The Future?

It’s been a very tough quarter for economic forecasters, quota-carrying sales teams and CEOs.  The sudden downturn even caught GE’s legendary planners by surprise.  If you’re an executive at a technology company, you may already have started an FY09 planning process to re-examine staffing, product investments and revenue.  These already bake in your core business assumptions, though, so you should “stress test” your assumptions using scenario planning. We’ve worked with a range of executive teams on scenario planning: using market-driven product roadmaps to identify business risks and core assumptions, and then highlight the interrelationships among strategic choices. Once you can see how products and delivery dates relate to market realities, you’ll be able to answer the “what if” and “how…

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Understanding the Opportunities of Buy-Side Economics

As CEOs of our products, we product managers have a lot to do.  Traditionally, this has included “build-versus-buy” decisions. The debate often hinged on whether technical tasks were “core” or just “context”.  Over the last decade, this has shifted from “build-versus-buy” to “buy-versus-buy” as we balance more kinds of internal and external resources.  Here are some thoughts on sizing various “buying” opportunities to keep products shipping and revenue flowing. The smallest opportunity might be called “the expert quick hitter”, then up to “niche technology provider” and finally a large “please build this for me.”  All three are invitations to think about what your team can do for itself, and your own urgency to get revenue products to market. Small: “The…

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Customer Input and Planning Horizons (Haas Executive Education)

Rich Mironov returned to the Haas School’s Product Management Executive Education series, “Product Management: Translating Market Opportunities into Profitability,” for a lecture on product management titled “Customer Input Approaches and the Product Planning Horizon”.  This session included an in-person version of the Innovation Game “Buy A Feature.” In a program primarily taught by Haas’ distinguished faculty,  Rich was (at the time) the only product management practitioner on the program’s teaching staff. Where: Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, CA When: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 (the full program runs Nov 3 through 7) The Berkeley Center for Executive Development draws on the rich resources, talent and perspectives of top-level business educators and researchers from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of…

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Product Companies Need Product Managers, not Product Owners (webinar)

A webinar hosted by Pragmatic Marketing What: “Product Companies need Product Managers, not Product Owners” Who: Rich Mironov, CMO, Enthiosys as part of a joint Pragmatic/Enthiosys webinar series on Agile Product Management When: Friday, October 24th, 2008 Product Managers are responsible for the overall market success of their products, not just delivery of software. In the Agile world, a new title is emerging—the Product Owner—which covers a small subset of the Product Management role. While this makes sense for internal IT groups that have traditionally gone without Product Management, Rich Mironov will talk about how Agile product companies (that need to deliver customer revenue with their offerings) need full-fledged Product Managers to drive strategic activities and manage organizational/external participation. What…

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Managing Internet Products (Haas)

When: Oct 6th, 4PM (Monday) Where: Berkeley’s Haas School, Cheit C110 2200 Piedmont Ave, Berkeley CA As part of the ”Managing Internet/Digital Media Products” speaker series, Rich Mironov gave a talk about “Product Management: Agile vs. Waterfall” as well as the relationship between MBA-type product managers/marketers and engineering teams.  This series is a one-unit class sponsored by the Management of Technology Program and Haas’ Digital Media and Entertainment Club (DMEC).

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Disruptive Pricing Units

During a miserable week of domestic air travel during June, I noticed new fees suddenly appearing for checked baggage and in-flight soft drinks.  That caused an announcement about a new airline to catch my eye – an airline offering a radically different approach to pricing.  It re-raised a topic that we explore with many clients: shifting the basis of competition by changing pricing units. On June 6th, 2008, a new airline called Derrie-Air started advertising fares based on total passenger weight,  with the slogan “Pack Less. Weigh Less. Pay Less.”  A flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles was priced at $2.25 per pound – with each passenger paying based on body weight plus luggage.  Thus a supermodel carrying only a…

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P-Camp, the first Agile Unconference for Product Managers

Led by Rich Mironov, Enthiosys was thrilled to sponsoring P-CAMP, the first Agile Unconference for Product Managers and other product champions. We had more than 170 people joining us for this free Saturday event, and an additional 120 who responded but were not able to join us live.  That’s larger than the first Agile Development Conference!  (We know, because Luke helped organize that shindig.)  Participants proposed their own topics, ran discussions and panels, and networked with peers. This was so much fun that we’re already thinking about how to size this up for 2009. There is a full page of session notes and presentations on the BarCamp wiki. Among the talks and panels: * Nancy Frishberg (MSB) showed us how…

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