Product Management

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?

Read more…

Hey Product Manager: Your Sales Team Is Not Excited

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.

Read more…

How to Build Your 2018 Roadmap Presentation

product manager presentation

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.

Read more…

6 Blog Posts for Forward-Thinking Product Managers — October 2017

“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.

Read more…

How to Hold an Effective Product Grooming Session

product backlog grooming session

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…

How Smart Product Managers Track Competitors

product manager sick

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.”    

Read more…

This Is Not a Product Roadmap

this is not a product roadmap

What is a product roadmap? Simple enough question. Most product managers would say that a product roadmap lays out the future. But then ask to see that product roadmap and what do you get? A few technical bits about what is planned, captured in a spreadsheet or bug tracking tool.

Read more…

5 Reasons Product Managers Are Still Building Disappointing Products

disappointing products

Something is slowly rotting. And I may have found the stinky source. It might be your product. Are you building something that customers love using? Or are they simply holding their noses — tolerating it due to a lack of options or because it is the product they have been told to use?

Read more…

7 Blog Posts for Busy Product Managers — September 2017

september blog posts product managers

Running around in circles. This is not an uncommon feeling for product managers. You have so many items on your To-do list and so many meetings to attend. You are doing important work — but it seems like you never have the time to stop and reflect on it. So let’s take a moment and stop.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

The 7 Report Templates Every Product Manager Needs

product management report templates

“There has got to be a better way.” This was my inner monologue as a product manager. I found myself creating the same reports again and again. I would spend late nights in the office, painstakingly updating the same spreadsheets and tracking down outdated versions. It was frustrating and incredibly time-consuming. Read more…

Hey Product Manager: The Problem With “Trusting Your Gut”

product manager data direction

Sometimes your gut instinct is wrong. I discovered this a number of years ago after launching a new product. A strange phenomenon was happening. The more support interactions a customer had, the more likely they were to keep using the product. Wait — what? The more problems customers had, the longer they stayed with us?

Read more…

The Real Value of a Product Manager

real value of a product manager

Who is the most misunderstood in technology? I would say it is the person who plans what will be built next. This person — often called the product manager — is a puzzler to many. Just consider how many different job titles are used for people who do the work of product management: product manager, product owner, business analyst, and even program or project manager sometimes. To keep it simple — let’s refer to these folks as product managers. 

Read more…

The 10 Best Blogs for Product Managers

best blogs product managers

It is one thing to write down your thoughts in a private journal. It is quite another to publish those thoughts for everyone to read. You need to have a strong conviction to share what you have learned. That is why I started writing on the Aha! blog — to share my views about building great products and companies with others who are trying to do the same.

Read more…

Exhausted at Work? — Do This Now

information overload at work

Does it ever feel like there is just too much information coming your way? You are not the only one who is exhausted. The whole team is drowning — chasing down customer requests, navigating conflicting executive decrees, and trying to prioritize which colleague to respond to first. It is no wonder the mental exhaustion seems contagious. This overcommitted and overloaded state is not sustainable. But the solution might surprise you.

Read more…