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?”
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”
Most product-management methodologies offer an organized series of steps, from the more strategic aspects to the tactical execution. One of the key pieces that is almost universally considered a key deliverable by product managers is the market-requirement document, often simply called the MRD. These steps and documents are very fact-based and almost always lack a way to share the big picture and the emotion you want to create.
Continue reading “Start with the media release, not the MRD, when developing new products”