A common question posed to Product Managers in organizations interested in or transitioning into Agile is, “How do we know that we’re Agile?” Because agility is a cultural value, there’s no pre-determined checklist of things that one can step through and certify your company as 100% Organic Agile. There are, however, indicators that we look at to determine whether or not the company, a team, or even an individual, is thinking and acting in an Agile way. Here are a few key indicators that you can use to weigh your assessment of how agile you, your team, or your company are…
Archives for June 2016
Just Because You’re Delighted by Your Product Doesn’t Mean Your Users Are!
There are a lot of potential pitfalls that threaten our success as Product Manager — but by far the worst, in my opinion, is falling too much in love with your own ideas, whether those are problems, solutions, or even assumptions about the market and our customers. While I think they take it a bit to the extreme, Pragmatic Marketing does have a point when they say, “Your opinions, while interesting, are irrelevant.” It’s in our nature to make assumptions and inferences from what we see going on around us — to create plans in the face of uncertainty and to identify potential opportunities that others are missing. But we do so at the very real danger of drinking our own product’s Kool-Aid and thinking that we have the one true solution and the one truth in the market. But in reality, that’s never the truth, and we need to check ourselves every single day against this danger.
PM 101 – Working With Marketing
We’ve already touched on the importance of working with Designers and Sales — and UserVoice gave me an opportunity to discuss working with Engineers — so today we’re going to continue the logical progression of teams that a Product Manager must have good relationships with by talking about the proper care and feeding of your Marketing teams. Product Management often has a bit of a love/hate relationship with Marketing — they provide us with many opportunities for direct contact with the market, but often the positioning and materials are viewed as not reflecting reality. So how can we not only improve the relationship that we have with Marketing, but also help them to be more effective and accurate in their own work?
What to Do When It’s All Falling Apart
As Product Managers, we’re often right on the front lines when things start to go sideways — when the demo fails in the middle of a big customer presentation, when the Ops team can’t deploy the “fully-tested” and “ready for production” release, or when your customer acquisition and retention numbers start to dip. But rarely do we really talk about or adequately prepare ourselves for how to properly deal with these kinds of situations — the best Product Managers I’ve known have been optimistic and pragmatic, but when emotions are hot and fires are burning, how can we effectively jump in with productive direction and effective problem-solving skills? Here are some ideas…