Turning Ideas into Software (Panel)

An interactive discussion about how to turn software into products, with some of the most innovative product managers in Silicon Valley (Mike Tadlock, Sue Raisty, Rich Mironov)

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Ready Product Radio Podcast: Managing Products vs. Managing Product Managers

Ready Product Radio

Ready Product Radio’s Allan Neil talked with me about the difference between managing products and managing product managers; balancing one-off requests against strategic roadmaps; and whether more data is improving product decisions

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What’s Your Strategic App?

assorted apps

Software companies know that their strategic applications are the ones they sell to customers for money. What about for technology-enabled companies?

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Dog Whistles and the Myth of R&D Slack

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There’s a dog whistle problem with critical phrases that Engineering VPs (and product managers) repeatedly speak but which can’t be heard by sales people or executives: “There is no slack in our development schedule. We’re fully booked.” …and… “If we make this new customer commitment, we will have to pull technical staff away from projects we have already committed to customers. That means slipping project ABC.”

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Video: Agile Product Mgmt challenges

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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Painters, Portraits, Software Architects

I’ve been tuning an analogy about painters for the last few months, which has become my litmus test for which companies see software strategically – and the kind of talent they attract.  First the analogy, in three parts: If you want someone to paint your house, you get a few quotes from house painters. Bids focus on size of house, cost of paint, prep time and ladder time. Good references help, but your decision is mostly about price and availability. If you want someone to paint a portrait of your loving spouse, however, you might prefer a modern-day Renoir to a Cassius Coolidge, even at substantially higher cost and less convenient scheduling. The quality of the work product really matters,…

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Agile Product Manager/Product Owner Dilemma

Thoughts on how software product management overlaps, but is not identical with, agile product owner.

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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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Review: “Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams”

Short review of Mario Moriera’s new book, “Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams.”  Mario structures a strong case that good Configuration Management (CM) is a strong enabler and requirement for highly productive Agile development teams.  In particular, he counters the oft-repeated (but untrue) assertion that Agile teams don’t need process, structure, tools or architecture to succeed.  To the contrary, thoughtful and planful application of CM principles is important to professional Agile software teams.

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