About Ron and Aha!

Ron is a product guy. He is the Sr. Director of Product Management at Aha! - the world’s #1 product roadmap software. He previously founded and sold his own company and has been on the founding team of multiple venture-backed companies.

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My 5 Tips for Remote Product Managers

remote product manager aha

The job listing called for an experienced product manager. The opportunity: Work on software built by and for product managers. The location: Anywhere in the United States. At first, I was confused — anywhere? But I was intrigued. So I followed my curiosity. And I am so glad I did. Read more…

The Problem With Being a Fix-It Product Manager

fix-it product manager

It starts off with the best intentions. You are planning an upcoming release and notice that the support documentation needs to be updated. You could turn to a teammate and ask them to jump in. But instead you think, “I’ll just do it this once — it will be quicker this way.” Before you know it, you are spending lots of time in an area where your colleagues are experts. You have become the fix-it product manager.

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User Stories vs. Requirements

user stories vs requirements

Stories. You have hundreds of them if you are a product manager. Each one describes the awesome experiences you want your customers to have while using your product. And like any good storyteller, you need your stories to be clear and impactful.

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The Product Plan vs. the Release Plan

product plan vs. release plan

Do you like to focus on the big picture — or get down in the details? It is true that our brains tend to favor one side or the other. But if you are a product manager your answer to this question should be “both.” Growing a successful product requires both top-down and bottom-up planning. 

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We Reviewed 1,452 Customer Ideas in 2017 — This Is How We Did It

categorizing ideas

There are certain phrases that make a product manager cringe. For me, it is when customers refer to  the process of submitting feedback as throwing ideas into a “black hole.” Ouch. I never want a customer to feel this way. This is one reason why our team at Aha! created a new goal this year: zero unreviewed customer ideas. Seriously.

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How Good Product Managers Deliver Bad News

product manager bad news

I have some bad news. And it will not be surprising for most product managers. Our job frequently involves telling people things they do not want to hear. In fact, I would say the job of a product manager involves more difficult conversations than most. Even communicating what some would consider very bad news.

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7 Best Practices for Building Your First Product Roadmap

build product roadmap

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?

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6 Podcasts That Product Managers Love

product management podcasts

I spent an hour driving three miles. Welcome to Los Angeles — that was my commute. I was working as a product manager at an e-commerce company on the west side. Some call the area “Silicon Beach.” Most days it felt more like “Silicon Gridlock.” But there was something that eased the frustration.

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Product Manager to Customer: “What Do You Really Want?”

dog clothing box subscription product

Listen to the customer. This is the advice given to many product managers. But what if you are listening — yet hearing all the wrong things?

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Product Manager Beware: Your Roadmap Is Confusing Customers

confusing traffic signs

“What are you planning to deliver in the second half of the year?” We were wrapping up a meeting with our customer advisory group when someone asked me this question. As a product manager, I should have known how to answer. Unfortunately, I caused more confusion than good. Here is what happened.

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User Interviews: 6 Best Practices for Product Managers

User interviews for product managers

I learned a hard lesson early in my career — one that I never forgot. I was working on product strategy for a media company. Third-party studies showed that prospective customers were interested in a new content format. So we decided to revamp the site. When the mockups were ready, we interviewed our existing customers to get their take on the new look. And boy, am I glad we did.
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What Kind of Product Manager Will You Be in 2017?

black 8 ball on a pool table

“What kind of product manager will you be this year?” This was THE QUESTION that smacked me early on in my career. I had just come back from a holiday break and was catching up with my boss. I wanted to give a strong reply, but I needed time to unpack the question.

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The Product Plan vs. the Project Plan

two orange goldfish in clear glass bowl

Great product managers ask questions — lots of them. But product managers need to answer questions too. And the more complex the work, the more questions abound. When I was working at another SaaS company in the HR space a few years ago, this became very clear.

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The Product Manager vs. the Technical Product Manager

ram statues butting heads

A lot of people ask me about how to break into product management. I think that is because product management is a hot career track today. So much so that there are many variations on the role and title.

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How Good Product Managers Handle Bad Feedback

Product manager discussing plan in an open office

I received some harsh feedback relatively early in my career as a product manager. I had worked at a SaaS company for about a year and was the first product manager on the team. We had finally landed a massive software partner — and I was excited to walk through my plan for the product integration with my CTO.

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