“Mistakes are inevitable. The comeback is more important than the setback.”
Product management being a relatively new and complex discipline, mistakes are inevitable. Based on the specific situation at hand, a mistake may turn into a blunder and can steal all the thunder. So, the key is to learn from the product mistake and try not to repeat the same mistake in the future.
“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.”
— Paul Bear Bryant
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate three mistakes that can occur in product management and can be very costly for the organization based on the overall priority of the product. …
Product owner helps maximize the value of the product resulting from the work of the development team by maintaining a product backlog. Backlog contains the list of work items that the product development team iteratively delivers in short cycles.
Maximizing business value isn’t an easy ask that makes the product owner job a complicated task. The word “owner” in the product owner says a lot. Responsibility starts as soon as any item is proposed on the backlog cart and ends only after that item helps accomplish the customer’s job and win their heart.
There are several functional and behavioral skills that a product owner needs. The focus of this article is to demonstrate top six functional skills that can help product owners make their job thrill. …
Product management is a science of discovering new ideas and an art of collaborating till that idea is in use to solve a real problem. It’s a relatively new but complex function.
“A great product manager has the brain of an engineer, the heart of a designer, and the speech of a diplomat.”
— Deep Nishar
Scope of product management is so huge that it’s not easy to champion every aspect of it. Key is to learn and embrace the fundamental principles that can be used to build lean-agile practices based on a specific product situation at hand — principles over practices mindset as outlined by Scaled Agile Framework/SAFe. …
Original meaning of the word “backlog” is— a large log placed at the back of a fire to keep the blaze going. We groom/prepare the log using various techniques. Similarly, an agile product development team uses a backlog to blaze/inspire and a grooming technique to charge/fire.
In my previous article “Product Roadmap — Five Key Points to Keep in Mind”, I mentioned some points to consider while building a product roadmap. I also provided a high level preview of a product backlog and demonstrated how a product backlog aligns to a product roadmap. To summarize — a product roadmap is a strategic plan and product backlog is a tactical execution plan. …
“Be stubborn on vision but flexible on details”
— Jeff Bezos
Product roadmap is a well-known but overblown term in the world of product making firms. At a high level, product roadmap is a guide for everyone to align on how the product would achieve its vision and ultimately shine. However, when it comes to building a product roadmap, I have found many different flavors all around. Some with too much of details, and short sighted with precise timelines. Some long-term but vague. Important to note that for an organization, not having a good roadmap costs an arm and a leg. Reason —absence of a roadmap causes severe alignment challenges; no-one would know how to achieve the product vision that leads to enormous amount of organizational waste. So, it’s important to not be confused on this topic and always keep it in the back of our pocket. In this article, I have demonstrated five key points to keep in mind, so we are all aligned on the value a product roadmap provides. …
“Each year 30,000 new consumer products are launched — and 95 percent of them fail.”
— Clayton Christensen (Harvard Business School)
Key point is —we productize and launch these 30,000 ideas every year and only 1,500 of them (5%) succeed. Question is — how many ideas fail even before they are launched? If we account from the time when new product ideas emerge and go through all kinds of organizational vetting process, there isn’t much of a consistent data available on how many of those ideas fail even before they are launched.
Some time back, I conducted a quantitative survey to make an informed guess on the ideas failure rate. Based on the survey result, I found that only one out of one thousand ideas pass through the organizational diligence process and are launched to market — 0.1% launch rate (idea generation to product launch). Then of all the products that are launched, only 5% of them are successful as 95% products fail after launch. So, if we combine both the metrics (idea generation till the success of the product after launch), the overall success rate turns out to be just 0.005%. The horizontal funnel chart below demonstrates this visually. …
I accidentally bumped into the above comic strip that reminded me of an interesting story I heard long time ago.
There was a CEO. He was in the process of leaving the company and was transitioning his responsibilities to his successor. His successor was going to be the first time CEO and so was extremely delighted. He couldn’t hold his emotions and so out of his excitement, he requested the departing CEO to offer him some tips for success in the CEO role. The departing CEO showed him a small cabinet lying in one of the corners inside his office. He told there were three letters in that cabinet. The letters were marked — 1, 2, and 3. Those letters contained the word of wisdom and were a gift to him from his predecessor CEO. He also advised to open the letter in order, one at a time, and only if he would get into any big trouble with no way out. At last, he mentioned that there wouldn’t be any problem after opening the last letter marked ‘3’. He then wished him good luck and departed. …
“Several years ago, I had a pleasure
to meet an outstanding program management leader
He was such a great mentor, more like a magician
Won’t let anything fall through the crack
Won’t say anything behind your back
Would work very hard to learn new things
And inspire his team to let them feel they got wings
He would never say — it’s not my problem
There were nothing he couldn’t solve ‘em
On top of all — he was so kind
A gem that is so hard to find…”
An outstanding program management leader with a brilliant mind is so hard to find. …
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some time ago, I conducted a build/buy/partner evaluation of one of the main components included in a broader product solution. We were hard pressed on time. So, I ruled out build or buy options during the early phases as that component was neither quick to build nor a key differentiating item. Partnering with another company was the best option.
A friend of mine led the business development team in one of the companies that was on my list of potential partners. His company was in top five but definitely not in top three. Even though we knew each other for long, we decided to abide by the rules of our companies. However, at the back of my mind, I knew I could bag a much better price deal if we were to go with my friend’s company. I could justify that partnership with a good cost/benefit analysis (lesser benefit but relatively much lower cost). It was also convenient for me — I could get the contract done quickly and move on to the next huddle as part of building the overall solution. However, I was a little concerned. I had a feeling that some of the features that my friend’s company’s product didn’t had that time — what if those features would be needed later when we move forward on the overall solution? …
“Once I got an idea
Why not do something like Ikea
But instead make things here in America
I excitedly told my boss about my panacea
He thought I had some hysteria
Or side effect from my recent malaria
He gave up his resistance when I heavily insisted
But gave me so little time to get my idea tested”
Market-centered research has been the focal point of almost all the product innovations that saw the light of the day. This research technique aims to gain a greater understanding of the customer wants and needs. In simple terms, there are four key elements in a market centered research methodology. The first key is to find the most appropriate people who may provide the best insights related to the chosen area of the research. After the right people are identified, the second key is to build an effective partnership with them. This follows by the third key — gaining a deeper understanding of their problems. Finally, the fourth key after we have a good handle on the problems— the power of persistence that paves the way to build a sustainable solution to those problems. …