Happy Holidays to everyone out there! As we’re nearing the end of the year, it’s a good time for reflection — 2015 was a great year here at the Clever PM, and I’m looking forward to 2016 providing even more opportunities!! As a little Christmas present, I’ve put together the following list of the top articles from the blog over the past year…I hope you find something here that you haven’t yet read, or that you want to read again!
I find it ironic that one of the most fundamentally important aspects of Agile planning is so very often terribly implemented. User Stories are the single most important thing that a Product Manager/Owner delivers to their development teams — they’re the foundation on which everything the team does is gauged; and all too often, quite frankly, they suck.
The impact of the vast suckitude of these user stories is far-ranging, and does not go unnoticed. Bad user stories are one of the biggest causes of complaints on the part of development teams, the cause of endless friction and misunderstanding on the part of stakeholders, and ultimately result in missed deadlines, failed sprints, and Armageddon itself. Okay, maybe not quite that last part, but it sometimes feels like it.
Ah yes, that word — “innovation” — all too often when I hear it spoken, I want to turn into Inigo Montoya and remind people that it probably doesn’t mean what they think it means (or perhaps Vizzini and just yell “INCONCEIVABLE!” at the top of my lungs and run away laughing). And, unfortunately, this has resulted in the word being relegated to the corporate doublespeak graveyard along with such illustrious company as “synergy” and “taking it offline.”
But it’s really not innovation’s fault that people don’t “get” it — it’s the fault of the people who have repeatedly misused the term, and it’s something that we as Product Managers should always be striving for. When done properly, innovation is not only a good thing, but necessary to the evolution of your company, your business, and your product. When done poorly, or with a poor understanding of what it means, it’s nothing but a death march of pointless “vision sessions” and “blue sky thinking — just more corporate doublespeak.
In an attempt to restore innovation to its rightful position in our profession, let’s dispel some common myths surrounding the term.
We’ve all been there – sitting in our chairs around a table while various people opine about some topic that may or may not be related at all to the original reason you all got together, staring at the clock, hoping and wishing and praying that the pain will end soon so that you can get back to work and back to doing something productive with your time.
Sound like a meeting to you? It doesn’t need to. In fact, there are a few very small things that you can do that can help ensure that your meetings don’t wind up being a death march that nobody in the room cares about.
By far, one of the most common questions that I run across online and in discussions at events is how to transition into a Product Management role from outside. This can often be a challenge, since in most companies there are relatively fewer Product Management roles than there are roles of other kinds — even development management jobs are more frequent and often more than Product Management, simply as a function of the number of teams your average Product Manager works with. Here are a few tips on how to assess your readiness for such a transition, as well as how to achieve that transition if it’s really something you want.
As the clock turns past midnight, it’s officially a new year — out with 2014 and in with 2015! If you’re anything like me, 2014 was an interesting year, full of both challenges and opportunities, as is every year as a Product Manager. As we’re looking forward into 2015, I thought it was appropriate to provide a list of the top five New Year’s resolutions for Product Managers of all shapes, sizes, and experience levels.
Each of the main characters in HBO’s adaptation of G.R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones have their own motivations and methods that forward their goals, for good, evil, or something in between. And a careful examination of those characters reveals some common risks that Product Managers (and other roles) face in the business world on a daily basis. Here are five examples of things that any clever Product Manager can learn from watching Game of Thrones: