A very bright product and engineering leader at one of the largest media companies in the world asked me yesterday morning. “What’s a release?” I never really thought a release needed explanation, but sometimes the simplest questions are the most profound. In the past, I have written about other seemingly simple questions like “What’s a product?” so I should not have been surprised when this question was posed. … read more
I asked my best friend, a talented lead software engineer at a mid-size company, “What’s the best part of your job?” He’s not the type of guy who’s prone to think about that stuff and he just mumbled something to make me go away. So I was surprised when I asked him “What’s the least favorite part of your job?” and he quickly complained, “My product manager adds to our sprints after we’ve already set them…in the middle or even the end of them…and it happens every time!”
We have written about ideas in the past and commented that many of us have “idea fatigue.” We figured it was time to actually do something about it. Sure, it’s cool to talk about crowd-sourcing ideas in a social world — but the reality is that the noise of every “greatest new idea” beats you down so you miss the one that actually matters. No more. We just introduced the new new way to ideate.
You can now import cards and lists directly into Aha! from Trello. This builds on our broad existing set of integrations. The new import capabilities are important for product management teams that have outgrown Trello and are looking to take advantage of Aha! for more structured product strategy, visual roadmapping, and detailed definition of features and requirements. … read more
We have had a terrific year and seem to have touched a nerve with Aha! The business is growing fast and we have been busy expanding the team. We are now looking for terrific Rails developers and a very forward-looking marketing lead.
Our company is growing quickly. So, we have been increasing our spending on various advertising platforms to promote our app for product managers and engineers. We recently started testing Display Ads on Google. What we discovered today first appeared to be a mystery. But after closer inspection was more closely related to sleazy intent than random happen-chance.
Product Management is a metaphor for life: You start out with a vision of what you’d like your life to be and create a strategy with goals and initiatives to get there. I know because I have been a product manager and been around product managers most of my career. Except most of us don’t get there. Many of us wake up one day wondering “Is this it?”
Here is how it goes down. You turn the corner and the big boss (who never uses the product or speaks with customers) says “I have a great new idea for a feature.” Or worse, that pesky sales engineer tracks you down and says “Dude, did you see my email? If we just add that new capability we could penetrate the healthcare vertical.” Your stomach churns, you nod calmly, and say “That sounds good, let me take a look and get back to you on what it would take.”
That’s an interesting question. It’s not exactly what folks want to hear from us though when they ask us how they should organize their products. But, we need to answer their question with a question if we are going to be useful. We need to know what’s their product mean to them and what do their customers buy before providing any guidance.
We are all agile these days (or trying to be) and for almost all teams — dates still matter. Dates matter because time is an essential variable in life and business. And product teams have the best product releases when they have clear goals, deliver the goods on time, and everyone is on the page. This is easy if we work with a really small team or don’t have any complexity in our business or teams. But that’s usually not the case for product managers, product marketers, and software developers in software or technology companies. This is where some lightweight and highly visual release planning can save us and help us as product, project, and engineering managers stay focused (and sane).