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”
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”
It’s a question every product manager faces: What do you do, exactly? I got it from a newly appointed Executive Vice President of Marketing, to whom all the Product Managers reported, about eight years ago. After a short reflection, my answer was simple. Sort of. They do nothing—but it’s a lot of work.
It was certainly not the answer he was expecting, and I somehow felt compelled to provide a further explanation to my boss’s boss if, for no other reason, than to keep my job.
But at least I got his attention.
Continue reading “Product Managers: Doing nothing is a lot of work”
In recent months, I’ve found myself watching numerous food-related documentaries. From the Netflix show, Chef’s Table, to the PBS series, The Mind of a Chef (also available on Netflix), it’s fascinating to see the passion displayed by these culinary geniuses. It’s also interesting to see how they focus on every detail, how they all craft the unique experience they provide with care in an effort to achieve customer delight.
These shows also share glimpses of the journey some of them took to find their own voice, their unique value proposition that enables them to stand out. While each of these chefs have very different culinary styles and experiences, they offer amazing examples of customer delight. And although the lessons they teach are from the culinary world, they can be used by companies of any size and in any sector to achieve similar success.
Continue reading “Passion and care: Business lessons from the top chefs”
Have you ever tried to use a new product and, instead of going through the documentation, simply followed the steps that seemed logical to you? If it worked, did you think “cool, they thought about that” or “the product understands me” or even “I wish every product I used were this easy”?
Customer delight is about putting a smile on a user’s face when he tries your product. It’s about understanding the users and delivering a great experience that enables them to be more creative, productive, or innovative when it comes to their tasks or the goals they are trying to achieve. It is about customers loving your product and wanting to use it rather than using it only because they have no choice. It’s ultimately about having a product that matters to the customer, one that builds an emotional connection with them.
Continue reading “What is “customer delight”?”