B2B SaaS Companies Need Behavioral Expertise

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B2B SaaS are missing the opportunity to understand and model their user base: boosting satisfaction and revenue by identifying how successful customers behave during their revenue journey

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Panning for Gold in the Input Stream

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Sorting through the chaotic mess of customer input streams is like panning for gold. Big rewards when you find a nugget, but a lot of hard work sifting through tons of obvious, repetitive, incremental suggestions.

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Managing the Unmanageable

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I’ve had the great pleasure of reading an early copy of “Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams.”  Co-author Ron Lichty is a veteran Silicon Valley VP of Engineering, having done important work at Apple, Berkeley Systems, Schwab and Razorfish. I know Ron from his SVForum leadership and his “VPE of Fix-It” consulting. The book starts with the sociology and psychology of programmers, and why they are fundamentally hard to manage. Rather than caricature, it sorts programmers along many dimensions (client/server/database/web; architects/systems programmers/app builders; cowboys/farmers/heroes/introverts/cynics/jerks) to uncover team dynamics and motivational principles. Ron (and co-author Mickey Mantle) go to some length to separate programming from more manageable engineering disciplines: Programming as a serious profession…

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Asking for input: PM Directors and VPs

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I’ve been thinking for a long time about challenges in running a product management group – that is, managing product managers rather than products. And blogging some about it. It’s time for me to tackle this in a more coherent way, through a linked series of organizational problem/solution sets that may turn into a full-on book. First step (true to our training) is to interview Directors/VPs of Product Management and dig into current issues, trends, solutions and organizational workarounds. If you manage tech product managers, I’m looking for 45-60 minutes of open-ended discussion and honest appraisals. Anonymized. In person if you’re in the Bay Area. The usual thank-yous apply: my deep gratitude, a book or two, a few free hours…

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4 Mistakes that Product Executives Should Avoid

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I spent some time this week with an executive who’s taking on a VP Products (VPP) role for the first time. We talked bout the unique challenges for a VPP, such as politely downplaying the hundred merit-worthy ideas arrive each day. He then asked what mistakes he should avoid on first arrival at his new company.

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Webinar: Agile Product Management Essentials for Project Managers

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PMI’s Agile Community of Practice is one its largest subgroups, with more than 20,000 members. They are hosting a Sept 13th webinar with Rich Mironov on “Agile Product Management Essentials for Project Managers.” Registration requires PMI membership, session starts Noon PT.

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Video: Product Management and Startups

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In this video Magnus Billgren (of Tolpagorni) and Rich Mironov talk about the very earliest-stage startups and their need for product management thinking — even if they are too small to have a dedicated person exclusively for this role.  Conversation isabout founders with good product reflexes, lean startups, why there’s usually not a formal product manager among the founders, and when to add one full-time.  (In my experience, it’s at twelve to twenty employees.) This is the third in a series, recorded in March 2012 at Stockholm Product Leadership Days.

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Strategically Clogged Backlogs

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Among the urgent calls from software teams to me for interim product leadership is a variety that I call “systemic product failure” or “strategically clogged backlog.” I dealt with this twice in 2011, so it’s worth describing for other product folks: sh*t isn’t getting done, product managers are drowning (or have been let go), and engineering is dangerously disconnected from internal stakeholders and customers. Software isn’t shipping, and backlogs are growing. This may not look like a product management breakdown, but it really is… and identifying its organizational/structural roots is key to turning the situation around. If you’re moving to a new product team within your company, or joining a new company that lacks strong product management, watch for systemic…

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Video: Agile Product Mgmt challenges

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The second video (of five) in Tolpagorni‘s product leadership series: Magnus Billgren and Rich Mironov talk about strategic product management challenges in agile organizations: the need for roadmaps, strong market input, and the increased (but very valuable!) additional work load for product managers. Recorded in March 2012 during Produktledardagen.

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Product Management Essentials for ProJECT Managers

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Rich was June’s guest speaker for PMI Silicon Valley, on ProDUCT Management Basics for ProJECT Managers. We talked about product management as a murky role: poorly understood and inconsistently practiced across tech companies. And how to bridge role/goal/terminology gaps…

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