We Don’t Hire Product Owners Here

Help Wanted, product owners need not apply

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.

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What kind of politics is involved in a product manager’s job?

Quora question: What kind of politics is involved in the job of a product manager?
My answer: “Politics” has a negative spin to it. Let’s rephrase slightly: Given that no other groups/functions actually report to product management, what are key influencing approaches or styles?

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Get a Mentor, Be a Mentor

Gray beard

There’s been a lot of good chatter in the PM-osphere about the need for mentoring. If you’re looking for a product management mentor, be clear about your needs and goals. If you can be a mentor, please pitch in.

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Good, Better and Great Product Management (PCamp LA Keynote)

A keynote on good/better/great product management for Product Camp LA, March 2014. Defines minimally viable product management.

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Roadmap Process or Roadmap Results?

Complaints about roadmapping processes may really be about the results. If we want more features/releases faster than Engineering will commit to – or can deliver – then no roadmapping process will get us the results that we want.

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A Quick Exercise of Viewpoints

armwrestling

Here’s a team-building exercises for software managers/executives. There are two cards, defining both sides of a scenario. Find someone to try this out with…

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What We Need in a VP of Product Management

org-chart

Executives are often unclear about what a VP of Product Management does, and therefore the skills and experience to look for in candidates. Here are six aspects of the senior product job that tilt toward experience and organizational skills – rather than pure technical brilliance.

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The Surprise We Can See Coming

surprised boy

While our functional/departmental co-workers are stuck in the issue-of-the-day or this week’s sprint backlog or customer escalation #847, there’s a need for someone (often a product manager) to look a few months ahead. To do scenario planning. To apply previous experience. To take the long view.

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Delegate, Trust, Verify, Protect

whac-a-mole

There’s an infinitely long list of things that product managers ‘should do.’ Take a look at any product management framework or job description. We rarely say, but clearly know, that it all can’t get done. How can we effectively delegate?

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Leadership, Trust and Pronouns

I’m struck by the words people choose, and by how their pronouns reflect their management style. In particular, I’m working with a team that’s been hungry for leadership and trust – and is now blossoming. This provides me with an excuse to recap what we all (should) know about leadership, trust, and how the words we use shape the behavior of our organizations. A thoughtful choice between “I” and “we” and “you” is a reflection of the workplace emotional temperature: are managers and executives motivating line employees to do their best, or “throwing them under the bus?” Are we rewarding cross-functional cooperation and market impact, or angling for promotion and impressing our peers?

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