This is a tale of a company at a crossroads. Innovation had stalled. Teamwork was anemic. It was a time of stagnation. Leaders wrung their hands over the ailing enterprise. So they issued a decree. “Hear ye, hear ye! Remote work is banned. All employees must return to the closest regional office.”
There is no love lost between product managers and spreadsheets. It is not the fault of Microsoft Excel though — one of the most powerful applications ever built. It was just designed for complex data analysis — not product management. But while Excel falls woefully short as a product management solution, it still has a place in your toolkit. And when you do have to use Excel, you want to be able to get data into it easily. We get it.
I like solving a problem. To me, this means creating with a purpose. Legos, birdhouses, dinner — the format does not matter. What I enjoy is building and learning something new so that I can build more and learn more.
Extreme openness. This was the original intention of the open-office design. Breaking down walls would also break down barriers — everyone could exchange ideas throughout the day. The organization would realize a hyper-state of transparency where the best ideas would always win. But I bet you have experienced a different reality with this floor plan.
We are living in unsettling times. In 2016, you may have found yourself saying “What?!” out loud a lot. And I am betting that this year your knee-jerk response has become, “Now what?” But uncertainty in the world is nothing new. And it definitely is no stranger to business.
My friend Mary recently shared a recurring nightmare. It involved a twisted metamorphosis into a donkey. It was Disney’s fault — specifically, the film Pinocchio. You know, the scene where the mischievous boys transform into jackasses? It scared the heck out of her as a kid. But these days a different type of donkey haunts my friend.
It was my first week as a new product manager. There were already a ton of feature requests coming in from different teams. Most were partially defined and very few were prioritized. I was drowning in requests. There was also a pile of customer ideas that needed review, release timelines to plan, the list went on. Where to start?
Imagine that your job is to sell pencils. Number 2 pencils, to be specific. Your sales pitch is basic. “Classic wooden pencils! You can sharpen, write, and erase!” There is not much else to say. Sure, there is beauty in the pencil’s simplicity and utility, but some days it is a struggle to get excited about moving those units.
Public speaking. I have learned to really enjoy it and consider it an honor. I have done a lot of it over the last ten years. Although I do understand the anxiety some people feel looking at all those expectant faces. The nervous jitters or pressure to put on a show. But the audience is not that scary. They are just people like us. No, there is something else you should be afraid of that is related to presentations — it might surprise you at first.
“I cannot believe it is almost 2018.” You will be hearing this from your family and friends pretty soon. But if you are a product manager you can believe it. This is because you have been in 2018 planning (hopefully) for weeks now — already making plans for next year.
I want to talk about a recurring meeting. You know, the one that makes you cringe. It pops up on your calendar and makes you wish you could quietly hit “decline.” Many years ago, I often had these meetings. Unfortunately, little was accomplished except an invite to the next one to discuss the same topic all over again. But there was one type that was worse than the others — the ongoing product backlog grooming session. Read more…
Our mission is to help you build great products and be happy doing it. And that means giving you a place to do everything from defining your high-level product strategy to writing detailed user requirements — all in one tool. Today, we build on that vision by launching a design and wireframing tool: Aha! mockups.
There is a plague infiltrating your office. Sales? Already infected. Most of the other teams are sick now too. The symptoms make people act lifeless — paranoid thinking and nonsensical talk. You might even hear folks muttering, “We are behind.”