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.
How does enterprise product management differ from mass-market consumer product management? We’ll look at organizations, politics and experiments… and why “experiments” mean very different things in B2C and enterprise/B2B.
Software is intangible: it doesn’t have weight or size or per-unit manufacturing costs. But if we’re in the software business, we have to assign units and prices that reflect our value to customers. And we should be mapping out pricing strategy before we start development, not the day before product launch.
There are some inherent mis-alignments among internal stakeholders that can complicate enterprise product planning and roadmapping. How do we understand these systematically instead of as personal confrontations?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.