Podcast: Product Leadership, Career Planning, and Getting Fired/Hired


What: Product404’s podcast, hosted by Kent Keirsey Recorded: 14 April 2020 Length: 46 minutes _______________ Product404 is an Atlanta-based product community, normally hosting in-person events.  Kent Keirsey is turning this into a podcast series (for now). Kent and I talked at length about product leadership; smokejumping into companies; moving up the career ladder; helping those who need it (in the current COVID-19 crisis and more generally); paying it forward; and what product management interviewing feels like on the other side of the desk. Give a listen.

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This Is Why I Hire First for Product Experience

My #1 hiring criterion for (senior) product management roles is previous product management experience. Responding to a Medium post by David Cancel, here’s some of my thinking.

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A VP Product’s Checklist

VPs of Product Management have to create the conditions for individual product managers to succeed. This includes organizational, process, hiring/mentoring and cross-functional leadership — plus buy-in at every level. What goes on a new VP’s checklist?

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Mentoring Product Managers: Case Method as Well as Tools

As mentors, we should be demonstrating context, judgment and decision-making models – not just sharing templates. Our mentees should be demanding that we give them the big picture.

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Scaling Up Product Manager/Owner Teams (PCamp PDX)

This talk from Product Camp Portland paints the need to formally identify product owners for each agile team, select POs thoughtfully, train/mentor them, and create very strong ties to portfolio-level product management.

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What We Need in a VP of Product Management


Executives are often unclear about what a VP of Product Management does, and therefore the skills and experience to look for in candidates. Here are six aspects of the senior product job that tilt toward experience and organizational skills – rather than pure technical brilliance.

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5 Market-Facing Skills for (Some) Agile Product Owners

Value Exchange

Completing a three-post skills model for product owners, partly borrowed from product management… For some projects, product owners need market-facing skills as well as core agile practices (release/sprint planning, story writing, prioritization, backlog grooming). They *may* need to tell economic stories, segment users, design incentives and take a portfolio-level view.

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Social Entrepreneurship

I got an early look at allthis – a community of people using their talents, skills, and social connections to support their favorite causes. Hope that you’ll visit as well, and participate if the spirit moves you. In brief, allthis lets people post offers (services, goods, special items) that they’ll provide in return for charitable donations. You do what you’re good at (or what you hope others will appreciate), and 100% of the money goes directly to the cause of your choosing.

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Skills You Need to Succeed as a PM (SVPMA Panel)

SVPMA marked its 10-year anniversary with a panel discussion on the key role that product managers play in today’s organizations and the skills PMs need to succeed in the next decade.  120+ attended. What: “Skills You Need to Succeed as a Product Manager in the Next Decade” Panel: Rich Mironov (moderator), Tom Grant, Greg Cohen, Christina Noren, Ivan Chalif When: Wednesday, December 1st, 6:30pm – 9pm Where: TechMart, Santa Clara This turned into a spirited discussion among the panelists and assembled PMs/PMMs with questions on their minds.  One interesting thread was about “the right questions to ask” and the “right tools to use” to arrive at the best possible requirements.  (See Saeed Khan’s thoughtful post.) And some pull-the-pin questions from…

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