The Product Leadership Career Ladder

I talk with lots of senior individual contributors about the risks and challenges of moving “up the ladder” into product leadership roles.  Here’s a survey I fielded to capture their top questions and concerns about getting promoted.  What do product leaders do? How do product managers signal their interest in becoming one?

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October 17 & 22, Melbourne/Sydney: Leading The Product

Rich Mironov will be MC for Australia’s largest product conference in Melbourne (October 17th) and Sydney (October 22nd). Organized by Brainmates, this year featurning Jake Knapp, Natalie Field and Bruce McCarthy — plus Rich’s personal reflections on a decade of increasing visibility for product management.

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How (Industrial) Hardware Is Different from (B2B) Software

Industrial hardware and enterprise software are both great business, but have very economics, scorekeeping, and development models. To run a strong software business, we may need to retool some operating processes as well as executive assumptions.

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My Stories Are Too Short…

My team says that my stories are too short, insufficient. Except when they say I’m long-winded, overspecifying HOW instead of WHAT. What’s really happening? Thoughts on engaging with our teams to unpack issues and work better together.

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Why CEOs Should Not Be Our Primary Source of Customer Input

It’s easy for CEOs to think that they personally are the best-informed people within their companies about what customers need and what markets want. In reality, product and design teams have the time, focus, expertise, and large numbers of non-selling interviews to do more objective validation of product ideas.

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What Do Product Leaders Worry About? (Survey)

My year-end survey of 120 product leaders about their top issues: building the right thing, portfolio trade-offs, training/mentoring, capturing authority, and others – including getting products built and to market.

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“I’ll Quit Unless…”

Employees can deliver ultimatums (“I’ll quit unless…”), even if that’s not their real intention. Poor communication meets unretractable threats. As managers, we need to avoid panic, listen for underlying issues, and identify solutions.

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The Slippery Slope of Sales-Led Development

Occasionally building something unique and small for a single customer makes sense. But enterprise software companies can easily fall into the habit of including custom work in too many of their major deals… with disastrous results. This (long) post lays out root issues and possible solutions.

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How to Make Time for Customer Interviews & Validation

Product leaders need to push their teams toward regular direct user/customer feedback, unmediated by sales or marketing or support. I’m suggesting one live user interview per week. But how can we find time for that, and make it important enough to compete with other urgent work?

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Do Infrastructure Teams Need Product Management?

Many infrastructure development teams don’t have a product manager. That forces an architect or senior developer to manage a range of responsibilities they are not best equipped to handle: settling conflicting business priorities; internally “selling” the value of architecture; tying technical decisions to business metrics; making connections between software and end user joy.

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