Products That Count Podcast

A podcast with SC Moatti, founder of Products That Count. We discussed technology product management roles, career ladders, the critical need for cross-functional communication, how incentives shape what our peers do, and when a startup hires its first full-time product manager.

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2015: A Strong Product Year

EOY

Appreciative hat tips to bloggers, events, podcasts and product-specific tools that caught my eye during 2015. An embarrassment of riches!

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Why (Agile) Program Management Tools Don’t Help (Agile) Product Managers

Program management tools need the output of a good product management process, but the same tools don’t work for both purposes. Some thoughts on what product managers need to make good decisions…

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A Strategic Tool Chain

Scott Sehlhorst’s thoughtful diagram of strategic steps for successful products. This picture is certainly worth 1000 words.

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Is Product Management Obsolete? (SVPMA, Palo Alto)

Agile/Scrum, Lean Startup, LeanUX, business model canvasses and growth hacking have expanded our range of tools, methodologies and vocabularies. They don’t specifically call out product management, though. So are product managers obsolete?

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4 1/2 Mac Productivity Products that Don’t Suck

I have a complex set of office productivity needs, and struggle to find products (services) that fit my particular situation. Even though my business assets live in the cloud, I’m often without a high-speed network connection – so also have to keep critical things stored locally. I juggle several email identities, keep two Macs synchronized, and live in a still-sometimes-Windows application world. Here’s unsolicited applause for a few products that meet my challenge. 1. Postbox. Managing a half-dozen email accounts isn’t for the faint of heart, and Apple’s native email client isn’t up to the task. (Most of my accounts live on gmail, which my browser can only access one at a time.)  I finally jettisoned Outlook 2011 after another…

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B2B SaaS Companies Need Behavioral Expertise

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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Managing the Unmanageable

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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The Power of Face-to-Face Social Networking

Bloomberg BusinessWeek gathered stories of people who’d gotten jobs after being sidelined.  Kay Roseland got a job “after attending ProductCamp Minnesota, an event focused on product management and marketing. [She] followed up with one of the presenters on LinkedIn… met for a great conversation, and the presenter recommended” her for a PM position. A good emphasis on personal (face-to-face) networking as well as the online variety.  In chats with more than a dozen job-seeker over the last month, I’ve echoed this advice: get breakfast, lunch or coffee with a new contact – it makes you a real person and lets you paint a nuanced picture of what you’re looking for.  Too often, online resume submissions and job postings are handled…

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Product Management Assessment Tool

PM leaders, such as VPs or Director of Product Management, worry about the health of their teams and processes, not just the health of their products. (See my recent post on metrics.) There’s a shortage of tools to help us evaluate how well we’re doing as PM organizations. I created this simple assessment tool based on a diagram I’ve been using for several years. The diagram highlights three key relationships for a (tech) product manager: with Development, with Marketing/Sales/Customers, and with Executives. (This point of view is not unique. See, for instance, Pragmatic Marketing’s triad model.) This tool provides a few indicators as to whether we’re meeting our core obligations to these three groups. A fourth category pulls together indicators…

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