Product managers and other product champions spend a lot of their time driving internal processes and decisions — the daily incremental struggle for progress on pricing, packaging, release schedules, upgrade policies and other bits of the production puzzle. This relentless motivation is indispensable, the tech equivalent of keeping the trains running on time. PMs should also be spending time with customers, refreshing their sense of needs and marketplaces.
A perennial problem for Product Management (PM) is finding the right organizational home. In companies large enough to have a PM department, it has a tendency to oscillate between Marketing and Engineering. Two root causes for this are role confusion and organizational distance. Let’s walk through each in turn, while trying to map a PM’s place in the grand scheme.
The ‘poop’ on product management: being a product champion is a lot like being a parent. We love our products, make multi-year commitments to their development, hide their shortcomings, and look out for their best long-term interests while other organizations live in the moment.
Every tech start-up struggles to create a roadmap: that short set of PowerPoint slides which defines the next six quarters of updates, minor releases and important advances. Since product managers strive for clarity, having a product roadmap is a critical communications tool. However…
I’ve had the chance to read Henry Chesbrough’s new book, “Open Innovation: the New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology.” It’s an insightful mix of practice and theory about how big technology companies are shifting their thinking about R&D — and the opportunities this creates for little companies. Following are a synopsis, a brief author bio, and two lessons I found especially important for start-ups. I hope you’ll buy a copy.