Enhancement Requests are Personal and Political, Not Just Analytical

As data-driven product managers, we’d like to pretend that incoming technical requests are simply transactional. In the real world, though, real people and real agendas are involved. And that means there’s a personal and political context to consider when prioritizing demands on our already-overloaded development organization.

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The Power of a Few Customer Calls

rotary phone

Talking with even a few users/customers can make the difference between potentially good ideas and actual improvement. Between “I think…” and “here’s what I heard from live customers…”

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Panning for Gold in the Input Stream

Sorting through the chaotic mess of customer input streams is like panning for gold. Big rewards when you find a nugget, but a lot of hard work sifting through tons of obvious, repetitive, incremental suggestions.

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Video: Importance of Roadmapping

Magnus Billgren of Tolpagorni Product Management talks with Rich Mironov about the importance of roadmaps as part of a coherent product strategy. How do we handle customer requests that are not in plan? This was taped during Tolpagorni’s Product Leadership Days, March 2012.

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Webcast with John Peltier

John Peltier is a seasoned product manager out of Atlanta, and does a periodic  webcast with guest product folks posted on his Product Owner Vision blog.  He generously included me in an interview posted on12 December.  We recorded a half hour discussion covering: How Product Camps can increase awareness among senior and executive level product management How product managers can help engineering organizations to understand what product managers do outside of engineering to help ensure the success of a product Options for a product manager to advance in the field Listen to the entire session here.

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How Engineering Can Work Better with Product Management

As a break from stealth start-up work, I led a discussion for SDForum’s Engineering Leadership SIG on “How Engineering Can Work Better with Product Management.”  This was a VERY spirited discussion… We gathered some (good and bad) experiences from attendees about their interactions with product management, tried to define what the PM role is, and shared some thoughts on how to cooperate better for great products and organizations. Lots of questions about how to get into product management, and why people would stay in such a role!

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Does Your Product Suck?

It’s been a tough week on the technical front, with a variety of products failing to perform their core functions for me. Which prompts a somewhat emotional question for those of us who oversee products (or services) for a living: Does your product suck? Does it #fail to do the one thing that customers buy it for? Here’s some background (a/k/a my tale of woe)… First, the dishwasher Our brand-new home has a brand-new kitchen, stacked with brand-new appliances. That includes a shiny, top-of-the-line Bosch dishwasher with dozens of settings and options and modes. What it lacks, unfortunately, is a reliable way to turn it on – to start the wash cycle. Of course, there is a START button, and…

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Santa Clara MBA Lecture on PM and NPD

Prof. Kumar Sarangee of Santa Clara’s Leavey School of Business invited Rich Mironov to be a guest lecturer for his Product Market Planning and Strategy class.  SCU’s Evening MBA program attracts some of the brightest students from the Valley, with a tradition of providing leadership back to technology companies.

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A Journey of 1000 Miles is Still 1000 Miles Long

Planning to improve is good, but actually improving is better. Your backlog still needs to be cleared up one item at a time, however.

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Magical Thinking and the Zero-Sum Roadmap

Recent conversations at several clients highlight an often-repeated set of magical thinking: beliefs by internal clients that development resources are infinite, and beliefs by product managers that prioritization can convince anyone otherwise.  Both are wrong, but seductive.  Here goes… The starting point for this conversation is the typical product roadmap: crammed full of prioritized work and heavily negotiated with the development team.  Almost every optional item has been postponed, and there’s still some risk of delay.  This is a product plan with no “white space,” no large chunks of unallocated engineering capacity, no slop or slush funds or hidden treasure.

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