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).
Agile/Scrum, Lean Startup, LeanUX, business model canvasses and growth hacking have expanded our range of tools, methodologies and vocabularies. They don’t specifically call out product management, though. So are product managers obsolete?
Three perennial challenges for entrepreneurs and start-up founders are (1) seriously listening to their markets, (2) building customer-side savings/ROI logic, and (3) whole-product thinking. Tiny companies lack formal product managers, but need to apply some product management thinking to these fundamental product/market needs.
Rich Mironov led a clinic on product management concepts for very early-stage start-ups (1 to 3 employees), hosted by Agile Entrepreneurs. Three Product Challenges for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs Three Product Challenges for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs from Rich Mironov When: Thursday July 15, 2010 Where: Fenwick & West, 801 California St, Mountain View CA Who: Hosted/presented by Agile Entrepreneurs Rich talked about what product management is, who does it at start-ups, and three things that every founder must do (or get help doing) even though there’s no product manager on board yet: Seriously listen to their market/prospects Build a thumbnail customer-side ROI Take time for whole-product thinking
I spent 2006 consulting to small tech companies, including seven months as an interim executive. I also nearly co-founded a start-up. Come year-end, though, I find that I haven’t created a new company or joined a fledgling venture. This brings to mind discussions of commitment and “burning your boats.”
From the outside, it might seem that joining a fledgling start-up should only be about economics and the big payoff: the popular business press always has stories of farsighted technologists, instant millionaires, and thirty-somethings coping with Sudden Wealth Syndrome. And there are certainly enough folks in the Valley who have made it that most of us know one. This strikes me as too narrow a view, though – and leaves out the important emotional aspects of start-ups. Deep into my fourth adventure, I’m less occupied by eventual exit strategies than by the day-to-day challenge of managing chaotic growth.