What’s A Vice President of Product Management?

My last two posts were about getting into product management and the climb to Director. This third post asks how Vice Presidents of Product Management (VP PMs) are different from Directors, why they are so rare, and where else Directors can look for organizational advancement. Product groups vary widely and are not rationally designed. (Sorry.) So let’s imagine a pure VP PM position generalized from my own tours of duty plus a half-dozen interim/acting VP PM roles.  Your organizational mileage may vary.  IMHO, /services: shepherding the short-term development efforts and long-term strategy work to keep a 3-12 month roadmap that’s coherent.  . They provide some order and structure and process to a chaotic situation, and keep things directionally on track….

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Company-Wide Business Agility and the Soviets

Until recently, most of the discussion around Agile has been strictly limited to software development teams.  We focused on building and testing and shipping software more effectively, with PMs/POs managing backlogs and user stories.  As software companies mature in their adoption of agile, though, it’s becoming clear that agile uncovers inefficiencies throughout the company. It also creates opportunities for executives to drive improvement in market-facing groups such as Support, Marketing, Professional Services, and Channel Sales.

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Adding Outbound to Cross-Functional Teams

Lately, there’s been lots of discussion about whether Agile is strictly a software development methodology, without major impact on the outbound parts of a software company, or whether it’s driving broad changes in how companies deliver value to their markets.  At Enthiosys, we’re seeing the move to business agility: applying agile techniques beyond software development as a source of tangible company benefits.

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More Chefs and Agile Restauranteurs

As more of our clients have moved to agile software development, we’ve seen a growing need for business agility: getting non-engineering functions involved earlier and more collaboratively, so that companies deliver better revenue results as well as better software.  Let’s make this more concrete by mapping it to the restaurant business. Our first thoughts about restaurants are usually about the food.  It’s important to remember, though, that restaurants are businesses first-and-foremost: if they don’t make money, they close their doors.  A well-functioning restaurant profitably coordinates the chefs with its front-of-house staff and sales/marketing.  Translating this to the software world, agile software development teams (engineering, QA, tech docs, tech ops) are our chefs: creating the most visible part of what we…

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