Reorganizing Product Teams

Restructuring product management teams is challenging: there’s no universal “best practice” or generic org chart, and people issues are the tough ones. We step through two examples of redefining what product folks do…

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Product Management Tips for Data Science Projects

Product managers working with data science teams on production applications have more challenges than with more deterministic (traditional) applications. These include providing more business/user context, not assuming that data will be predictive, and discussing accuracy requirements at the very start of a project.

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What Do Product Leaders Do?

Product leaders look after teams of products managers, and sometimes designers or developers. What do they do, and how is it different from the individual product managers on their team?

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The Product Leadership Career Ladder

I talk with lots of senior individual contributors about the risks and challenges of moving “up the ladder” into product leadership roles.  Here’s a survey I fielded to capture their top questions and concerns about getting promoted.  What do product leaders do? How do product managers signal their interest in becoming one?

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My Stories Are Too Short…

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.

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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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“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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