As Product Managers, we need to make sure our product is consistently good throughout time, despite all the forces that try to interfere with it. This is our most challenging job.
Feature requests rain down from every source. My-young-self would jump immediately to discussing roadmap prioritization and trade-offs, trying to please everyone. My-slightly-more-experienced-self learned that when we say YES to all requests, we end up building a Swiss knife. It’s not a good knife; it’s not a good anything. But that’s what happens when there are many trade-offs.
During the past decade, roadmaps have become the pet peeve of many of us — mine too.
How can we be agile, experiment, and be outcome-oriented while keeping a detailed plan of all the output that will happen in the next quarters? Promising a product plan that’s filled with certainty is similar to promising an arrival date for crossing the desert.
Of course, we can create that plan — and we can be very detailed, perfectionists as we are. But it’s still a future that we are guessing or fictionalizing. It will have unrealistic deadlines and, if taken all the…
How can we be sure that the features we are developing will deliver value?
This is a problem you’ll quickly run into when you start thinking about delivering value instead of features. The answer is simple: you often can’t know in advance what is valuable. Yet, it’s risky to proceed when you don’t. You should make sure you’re not wasting resources chasing after the wrong things; to allow much more resources to build the right thing.
This is why you need to experiment. …
As Consumers, how often do we measure the value of a product by the amount of features it offers?
As Product Makers, how often do our Companies measure our progress by the amount of features we produce?
It’s common for Companies to mistake making features with making progress. But features are not a real measure of value. Features can be finished, and delivered, and work perfectly, but still not provide any value.
One fundamental problem of this output-based planning is that it makes it hard to prioritize work. …
Here’s a harsh truth: you can survive for a while with usability or performance issues, but without the core value of a product, you have nothing. Customers don’t have to buy your products, and users don’t have to use your features. They will only do so if they perceive real value.
That’s why you should spend the majority of your efforts accessing the value of your product. And, for this, you need to be an expert on the customer/user: their issues, their pains, their desires, how they think, etc. You’re shooting blind until you understand those.
One great tool you…
Like it or not, there’s no escape. As a Product Manager, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of the market and industry in which your product adds value and competes. And this includes having a deep understanding of the competitor landscape.
If you don’t know who your competitors are: first, don’t say it out-loud; second, find them out asap.
Tip: search “[your product] vs” and “[competitor] vs”; you’ll find a good list quite fast.
Competitors can be:
Like everything, products are born and then eventually die. This sounds tragic but it shouldn’t be. If all goes well, their life will be full of exciting challenges, happy conquers and will touch the lives of all those around them. Worth it!
Throughout their life, products will go through different phases. Each phase has its specific demands and will need different muscles and skills from you, as you are a Product Manager.
What is the difference between product and project management?
Some people think they are one and the same, and I can understand that — there’s indeed overlap between what product managers and project managers do in an organization.
I’m all about embracing the overlap and not being precious about role boundaries, but there’s power in knowing what distinguishes both disciplines.
Product management is about discovering a product that is valuable, viable, usable, and feasible. Its success is the success of the product itself. The approach to achieve this success is not pre-defined — that’s when strategy kicks in.
I knew a few things before I started writing user stories:
More than 4 years ago, I introduced Super Product Managers. You had time to wonder: are all Super Product Managers alike? Do they all use the same superpowers and the same tricks in all situations? And do those superpowers and tricks work the same in all situations?
The answer is no.
Yes, in Software products, all PMs’ day-to-day life has plenty of overlap. But the strategy, goals and execution can be very different. It mainly depends on the kind of user base the product they are working on has. Not only on the user base in fact, but on stakeholders…