• Fair Share in Starting Product Management

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    Many CEOs struggle with getting product management to work in their companies. It takes more than hiring a good product manager; the CEO’s role is absolutely central in establishing a meaningful product management function. But it often falls short. That’s why I’ve just published an e-book about how CEOs should think about implementing a product management function for the first time (or maybe the second time.) It’s focused on B2B companies, where their business models have a profound impact on product management. My new e-book is built on my first-hand lessons as well as what others have shared with me.

    Book coverSo, in the spirit of sharing, you can download my book here, for free: (more…)

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  • Why I joined OnlyBoth

    People who know me have been asking why I joined OnlyBoth – an early stage technology startup. That’s quickly followed by the question: what is OnlyBoth anyway? Fair questions.

    First, the “what” question.  Founded by entrepreneurs Raul Valdes-Perez and Andre Lessa, OnlyBoth is the pioneer of artificial intelligence-based benchmarking software. Its fusion of proprietary artificial intelligence and natural language generation technology enables companies in a variety of industries to automatically discover critical business insights from data, and to communicate these in plain English.

    Now the “why” question.  There are actually five reasons, ranging from the lofty to the practical.  Let me explain.

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  • Bulking Up Product Manager Skills

    19 February 2012
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    stand-outProduct Managers require a number of skills to succeed, but many have gaps in such critical areas as business savvy, market expertise, operational know-how, or entrepreneurial ability.  As a result, the leaders of product management groups have to spend a great deal of their time coaching individual product managers on day-to-day tasks, frequently at the expense of other strategic priorities with longer-term implications.

    Many leaders of product management departments address the issue in one of two ways: either by trying to hire a product manager who brings the full set of needed skills to the job, or by re-assigning products around the strengths of their product managers. But both approaches carry their own sets of problems: first, it can be difficult and costly to find experienced product managers with all the skills and market expertise.  And second, moving people around doesn’t get rid of their weaknesses, it just masks them.
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  • Near-term, Mid-term, Long-term: Where’s a Product Manager Supposed to Focus?

    1 January 2012
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    Revenue from every product will decline some day – encroached by competitors, eclipsed by newer technologies, and disrupted by changes in the market environment. The Three Horizons Framework – initially espoused in The Alchemy of Growth by Baghi, Coley and White provides a simple way of thinking about balancing a company’s attention to, and investment in, the near, mid- and long term cycles of a business.  Since its publication a decade ago, their framework has become a popular tool for strategy development at the corporate level.

    However, we’re finding that product managers are also applying it to product line management, helping them sustain growth by balancing the pressing needs of current products against the need to make the most of emerging product opportunities and maximize their potential for future growth.
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  • Product Teams: Whose Job is it to Decide? Whose Job is it to Deliver?

    9 February 2011
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    Great product strategies and innovative product ideas can be powerful drivers of company growth, but only if their execution is solid. I’ve been hearing recently from product managers about their difficulties with execution.  Those difficulties have been aggravated by tight resources and soft marketplace demand.  But there is a low-cost approach to improving your results with your product teams.

    Some of the telltale signs of execution problems take the form of poor information flow and of people not being sure what they need to do.  For example, team leaders become indecisive; decisions take too long; when they’re made, they aren’t quickly translated into action; they’re second-guessed; executives are called in to resolve disputes; no one is sure who’s accountable for what; nobody knows who should be involved in making a decision; too many people are involved; information doesn’t get to the people who need it.  Or sometimes it’s the opposite – too many people are sent too much information; people go off-track with their efforts; conflicting messages get sent internally and externally, etc.

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