If you’re a tech company executive setting up an innovation program, most of your initial focus is on generating and validating individual product concepts. Unlike at a startup, though, you have a major hurdle AFTER your validation team comes up with a viable concept: how to find an organizational home for that idea within a mainstream product group. Which prompts the question: who is your internal customer for a validated product idea?
Taking a day off for tourism during my Brainmates/Australia tour, I had a chance to see the power of “free” in a non-tech entrepreneurial setting. Following along the business model literally and figuratively…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.