Does Your Product Suck?


It’s been a tough week on the technical front, with a variety of products failing to perform their core functions for me. Which prompts a somewhat emotional question for those of us who oversee products (or services) for a living: Does your product suck? Does it #fail to do the one thing that customers buy it for? Here’s some background (a/k/a my tale of woe)… First, the dishwasher Our brand-new home has a brand-new kitchen, stacked with brand-new appliances. That includes a shiny, top-of-the-line Bosch dishwasher with dozens of settings and options and modes. What it lacks, unfortunately, is a reliable way to turn it on – to start the wash cycle. Of course, there is a START button, and…

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Skills You Need to Succeed as a PM (SVPMA Panel)


SVPMA marked its 10-year anniversary with a panel discussion on the key role that product managers play in today’s organizations and the skills PMs need to succeed in the next decade.  120+ attended. What: “Skills You Need to Succeed as a Product Manager in the Next Decade” Panel: Rich Mironov (moderator), Tom Grant, Greg Cohen, Christina Noren, Ivan Chalif When: Wednesday, December 1st, 6:30pm – 9pm Where: TechMart, Santa Clara This turned into a spirited discussion among the panelists and assembled PMs/PMMs with questions on their minds.  One interesting thread was about “the right questions to ask” and the “right tools to use” to arrive at the best possible requirements.  (See Saeed Khan’s thoughtful post.) And some pull-the-pin questions from…

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Leadership, Trust and Pronouns


I’m struck by the words people choose, and by how their pronouns reflect their management style. In particular, I’m working with a team that’s been hungry for leadership and trust – and is now blossoming. This provides me with an excuse to recap what we all (should) know about leadership, trust, and how the words we use shape the behavior of our organizations. A thoughtful choice between “I” and “we” and “you” is a reflection of the workplace emotional temperature: are managers and executives motivating line employees to do their best, or “throwing them under the bus?” Are we rewarding cross-functional cooperation and market impact, or angling for promotion and impressing our peers?

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How Agile Changes (and Doesn’t Change) What Product Managers Do

Rich Mironov led a November 18th session on agile product management for the Norcal BMA. What: “How Agile Changes (and Doesn’t Change) What Product Managers Do” Who: Norcal BMA (Northern California Business Marketing Association) When: Nov 18th, 830AM – 10AM Where: Scott’s Seafood, Palo Alto CA

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Santa Clara MBA Lecture on PM and NPD


Prof. Kumar Sarangee of Santa Clara’s Leavey School of Business invited Rich Mironov to be a guest lecturer for his Product Market Planning and Strategy class.  SCU’s Evening MBA program attracts some of the brightest students from the Valley, with a tradition of providing leadership back to technology companies.

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A Journey of 1000 Miles is Still 1000 Miles Long


Planning to improve is good, but actually improving is better. Your backlog still needs to be cleared up one item at a time, however.

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Magical Thinking and the Zero-Sum Roadmap


Recent conversations at several clients highlight an often-repeated set of magical thinking: beliefs by internal clients that development resources are infinite, and beliefs by product managers that prioritization can convince anyone otherwise.  Both are wrong, but seductive.  Here goes… The starting point for this conversation is the typical product roadmap: crammed full of prioritized work and heavily negotiated with the development team.  Almost every optional item has been postponed, and there’s still some risk of delay.  This is a product plan with no “white space,” no large chunks of unallocated engineering capacity, no slop or slush funds or hidden treasure.

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Three Product Challenges for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs

Rich Mironov led a clinic on product management concepts for very early-stage start-ups (1 to 3 employees), hosted by Agile Entrepreneurs. Three Product Challenges for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs Three Product Challenges for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs from Rich Mironov When: Thursday July 15, 2010 Where: Fenwick & West, 801 California St, Mountain View CA Who: Hosted/presented by Agile Entrepreneurs Rich talked about what product management is, who does it at start-ups, and three things that every founder must do (or get help doing) even though there’s no product manager on board yet: Seriously listen to their market/prospects Build a thumbnail customer-side ROI Take time for whole-product thinking

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“What If Dev Doesn’t Think Product Mgmt Represents Customers?”


Recently, I put up a small assessment tool for product management teams.  This tool is intended to generate discussion and highlight areas for team improvement.  Several PMs had follow-up comments and questions along the lines of “what should we do if we’re scored ourselves poorly on a specific item?” There are no generic prescriptions for improvement, especially in product management.  It’s worth drilling into an individual item or two, though, and imagining how we might analyze the situation and take corrective action. 

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Reducing Risk Through Agile Product Planning (webinar)


What: “Reducing Risk through Agile Product Planning” webinar When:  June 2nd, 2010 Speaker: Rich Mironov, Principal, Mironov Consulting Replay the webinar here This webinar was part of Accept’s Agile Management Series, which also included speakers from Forrester and PRTM. Agile development teams focus on delivering products faster and with higher quality, reducing the risk of being “late to market.”  But product managers also worry about business risks including: building the wrong product, missing profitable segments, and constant roadmap changes.  How can we apply agile product planning to reduce our overall business risk? Reducing Risk through Agile Product Planning from Rich Mironov

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