As organizations mature and become more complex, aversion to risk increases, resulting in a slow decision process. Yet the world around is not standing still, and the speed of change continues to accelerate. Nimble young businesses, who live by the Lean Startup approach of building, measuring, and learning, move from nothing to a product customers love in what appears, from an established company perspective at least, virtually no time.
If both have strategic clarity around the vision, startups leave established organizations in the rear-view mirror because they optimize for simplicity and velocity. Startups practice the lean methodology to avoid spending time on things that ultimately won’t deliver value. They prevent waste by learning early and quickly where they are wrong.
Continue reading “Leveraging Lean Startup in established organizations”
Startups are optimized towards launching version 1.0 offerings, identifying product-market fit, and putting in place the best go-to-market organization to attract new customers. Once the “magic” happens (or should I say the challenging work pays off), when users and products find each other in a happy place, the growth loops evolve towards retention in addition to the original focus purely on acquisition. As the company matures, there is a natural tendency to increasingly drive the business towards delivering incremental products, focusing on the existing target audiences. After all, that’s where the revenue has come from historically, so why not concentrate the R&D and go-to-market investments on what we know best and minimize financial risks? Larger companies sometimes have a hard time going after something unproven that will take investing multiple years to become a meaningful part of the revenue. It could even take market share away from existing offerings!
Continue reading “V1 innovation within a V+1 org”
As companies evolve, they (sometimes) take the time to reflect on the best teams’ structure to achieve their strategies and goals. For most groups, the roles and responsibilities are self-contained within that function. For example, while the sales team organization to deliver the expected results might change significantly over time, from an inside-sales structure to heavy OEM or direct-to-consumer focus, the boundaries remain within “sales” – I can’t name any examples of companies beyond the Seed stage where the R&D leader manages the enterprise sales team. Yet, for one role, defining its location in the org-chart is not as clear… and that challenge is fundamentally described in the function name: Product Marketing.
Continue reading “Where in the org is Product Marketing?”
Everyone has plenty of them, and sadly, many of us are not afraid of sharing them regularly. Not only that, but they often have absolutely no relation with reality. Problematically, the more authoritative your position, the more significant their effect. Yes, I’m referring to opinions. Yet ultimately, what matters is expertise, not opinions.
Continue reading “It’s not your opinion, it’s your expertise that matters”
I’ve had the immense privilege of working with highly talented product managers over the years. I’ve also shared paths with others who still had a long and tumultuous path ahead of them as they struggle to master their craft. If I’ve discovered anything, it’s that product management is part art, part craft and part science.
While I’ve argued previously that product managers do nothing and there are as many definitions of the product manager’s role as there are products and companies, we all strive—or, at least, should be striving—to master our craft. The journey itself toward what I’ll call Mastery in Product Management is hugely rewarding, each product manager should have his or her own understanding of what mastery is in their field and how to recognize when they have achieved that level. This is my take on it.
Continue reading “Product-Management Mastery: It takes (at least) 3”
When it comes to new products and feature introductions, we’ve all seen our share of successes—and flops that hit the floor with a loud and sudden THUD. Some launches were an instant hit while some got almost no traction—and certainly displayed no stickiness. But when success strikes, does all hell have to break loose? Can we prevent the process from collapsing under the heavy load? Perhaps we need to properly plan for success.
Continue reading “Planning for success: What if your product is a hit?”
It’s a safe bet that within minutes of taking your first flying lesson, the thought of owning your own aircraft crossed your mind. In fact, the thought of owning one probably crossed your mind long before you ever signed up. (One thing you’ll soon learn is that you never really “don’t own” an aircraft. We like to think we are just “between planes.”)
This post is about the process I went through while joining my first partnership.
One thing many pilots do to reduce the cost of flying is to join forces with other fellow pilots. This is known as a partnership or a flying club, and it’s the road I decided to take a few years ago.
Continue reading “The next step: Aircraft ownership”
Generally speaking, craftspeople take great care and pride in their work—their passion for what they do shows in the final product. Some craftspeople, however, are still remembered decades, even centuries, later. Here’s just one example. Of the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of stringed instruments in the world today, only 1,100, or so, were made by Antonio Stradivari, the great Italian luthier. Almost 300 years ago, he hand-built what are widely acknowledged as the finest violins and cellos (and a few other instruments) on the planet. His are still the standard to which all other luthiers aspire. Despite now living in the age of technology and automation, we must follow in Stradivari’s footsteps. Our #1 priority should be building products that are crafted with care and designed to delight.
Continue reading “Product Managers: Dare to make products crafted with care”