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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Rosenfeld Podcast: Managing Multiple Points of View

Rich joined Lou Rosenfeld’s design podcast to talk about cross-functional collaboration between product and design; CEO perceptual biases; scaling up product organizations; and Enterprise Experience 2019 conference.

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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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Boston: Roadmapping’s Organizational Challenges (Business of Software)

Business of Software

Rich Mironov joins Business of Software Conference in Boston on Oct 1-3 for “What To Do About Your Audience’s Real Roadmap Questions.” Other speakers include Jared Spool, Tania Katan, Peldi Guilizzoni, Claire Suellentrop, David Cancel and Bruce McCarthy.

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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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Frankfurt: ISPMA Software Product Summit Keynote

Rich Mironov keynoted the ISPMA’s Software Product Summit in Frankfurt, with a talk on “Product Leadership Success: Lessons from Silicon Valley.” Themes were the continuing dominance of software; critical need for product managers to do real market validation; and a focus on paying customers (rather than internal stakeholders).

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Talking Directly with (Real) Customers

Product managers need to talk — often — with actual end users and buyers. We need to listen, interview, understand and empathize with paying customers. Unmediated by marketing, sales or researchers. What organizational barriers block this essential work, and can we remove some of them?

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