A Practical Approach to Agility and Product Management

Tag: product management (Page 1 of 2)

Level up your Product Game

Does any of the following sound familiar?

  • You’d like to up your Product game to be more confident.
  • You sometimes hit a wall and look for new ideas and solutions.
  • You’ve read a bunch of stuff about Product Management techniques and frameworks, but can’t remember how to apply any of this in your day-to-day job.
  • You need a quick refresher on key concepts before an interview.
  • You’d like to break into Product Management and need an overview of the key techniques and frameworks.

If one or several of these apply to you, I may have a solution for you: The Product Cards!

This new deck of Product Management cards has a wealth of practical information to help you become a more successful product leader. More details here.

The AI Effect: Transforming the World of Product Management

To state the obvious: “AI” is all the rage nowadays, and for good reason. We are probably experiencing the next major technological breakthrough in real-time and this should be an exciting journey. 

As Product Managers and leaders, we obviously have a lot of questions. On the one hand, we worry about how this will affect our jobs. On the other hand, we are left (if not expected) to figure out how to make AI part of our products.

Before attempting to answer these questions, we should first get a few things straight, however.

When we say “AI”, we tend to refer to recent innovations around large language models (LLMs) such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google Bard. This form of AI, which is also referred to as “generative AI” is made available by external providers who have spent years and lots of data to train these models. Those models run on their own (cloud) infrastructure and can be accessed by APIs these providers have made available. The output is largely text- (and recently also image and video-) based. The term “AI” in general is a much larger set of technologies and approaches, not just generative AI.

Then there is “Machine Learning” (ML), which is technically a subset of AI. ML has been around for years and has already found many useful applications which have made inroads into our day-to-day lives, oftentimes without much fanfare (Amazon recommendations, anyone?). ML tends to be more focused in its application compared to generative AI and is great at dealing with numerical and quantitative data. Unlike the big LLMs, companies can create, train, and run their ML models on their own infrastructure with their own proprietary data. With that, there are much fewer external dependencies.

Getting back to how “AI” impacts Product Managers, there are really several parts to this answer:

Continue reading

Understand Your Application’s ‘Feature Set Maturity’

As “product people”, we own and nurture software products with the goal of creating value for our customers (users) and achieving business results for the organizations we’re part of.

We need a way to articulate how well-developed (or nascent) the different parts of our application are, make decisions on where to invest time and effort, and layout a roadmap showing the progression of our app. (And once in a while we also need a way to peek at and compare ourselves to the competition). In this post, I’ll suggest a tool to help with these concerns—the concept of “feature set maturity”. Continue reading this post on Mind The Product

Measuring Learnings and Qualitative Feedback

As product managers, some — or maybe even many — of us have been able to escape the Build Trap and evolve past the Feature Factory. Hopefully behind us are the days of chasing purely feature-based roadmaps and instead, we’re working in empowered teams trying to achieve outcomes. 

As part of this transition, we have started to use product analytics tools like Pendo to understand user behavior and sentiment from a quantitative perspective. As we’re confirming user problems to solve and evaluating various solutions, we’re conducting user interviews and usability tests, which means we’re amassing all kinds of qualitative information. 

This introduces a set of new challenges: continue reading

Ideas are Screwing Up your Product Roadmap

Your ideas could be messing up your product roadmap. Yes, you read that right. Wait, aren’t great ideas the fuel of a good product roadmap? Sure, to some extent. But are you suffering from challenges like having a hard time sticking to your roadmap and delivering against it? Half-done or low-quality features? Constantly switching priorities, or too much WIP? Well, it may just be because of your ideas.

First, let’s clarify what I mean by roadmap: …

Read the remainder of this post on ProductCraft 

7 Great Books for Product Managers

There are an increasing number of books out there about various aspects of product management. Here are some of my favorites which will hopefully be useful for both aspiring as well as experienced Product Managers and entrepreneurs:

Marty Cagan’s INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love is a must-read. He covers everything from the structure of the organization, ideation and discovery to scaling the business. In this 2nd edition, he focuses not only on start-ups, but also on growth-stage and large companies.

 

The Lean Startup is a classic. Eric Ries, in this milestone book, makes the case for the discipline of entrepreneurial management (Vision), dives into the details of the build/measure/learn loop (Steer) and shows how to accelerate learning and scale the business (Accelerate). (Also, check out Eric’s 2nd book “The Startup Way”.)

 

Hooked: Nir Eyal takes his readers on a fascinating journey into the Hooked model and explains what it takes to use habits to create “sticky” and engaging applications that users come back to again and again. This book will be particularly intriguing to those of us interested in human behavior, psychology, and brain science.

 

The Lean Product Playbook was one of the first books I read when getting into Product Management. Dan Olsen does a great job of walking his readers step-by-step through the process of determining target customers, identifying underserved needs, defining the value prop, and, building and refining the MVP. Furthermore, he also gets into how to use metrics and analytics to optimize the product.

 

Running Lean: As the master and creator of the Lean Canvas, Ash Maurya shows how to not just create a product, but a viable and scalable business by documenting a plan, validating the riskiest parts, and testing the plan qualitatively and quantitatively. (Another great read of his is the follow-up book “Scaling Lean”.)

 

Somewhat surprisingly, there aren’t many books about product strategy. Roman Pichler’s Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age is a compact but comprehensive and very useful guide for strategy development and validation, product roadmapping and portfolio roadmaps.

 

In Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, Jake Knapp & others from Google Ventures demonstrate how to use a single calendar week (!) to solve a significant problem with a small team and find and validate a solution. Brilliant and effective!

 

As it turns out, many very successful entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have one habit in common: they read a lot! I hope this list is inspiring you to keep reading and learning about the expanding field of Product Management.

What are some of your favorite product-related books?

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