The relationship between a skilled product manager and their technical team is like the tracks to a train. Product managers provide direction and purpose. They guide engineers so they can do what they do best — write code and implement features that customers care about.
Feature creep can be an uncomfortable reality for many product managers. It crept into my work when I was a product manager at a large company, navigating many product teams and several layers of management.
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.
Building a product that is meaningful and lasting is tough. It’s also a remarkable experience when it happens. Once you get a taste of product success, nothing else will do.
Product managers are a relatively new position at companies big and small. In order to summarize the very high expectations that come with the role, job descriptions often describe someone with “big vision and the ability to make it a reality.” So how do you determine if someone can see big and work small at the same time?
It was a big month. I was leading product for a Los Angeles-based SaaS company in the HR space. Our team had released five big new features and was starting to see engagement with the product. We armed our sales team with the features they needed to close some of the biggest deals we had seen all year.
Roadmaps are essential to planning and getting complex work done. They are used in many different ways and shared with different audiences. You see product roadmaps in everything from executive briefings to IT planning meetings. Roadmaps are even used during sales presentations with key clients. And product teams are constantly discussing the right level of information to include.
Working with product managers is the greatest job in the world. And at Aha! we talk to hundreds of product leaders each month. These are the individuals responsible for managing the future of the companies where they work. I am fortunate to be able to help them on that journey.
Black accents or aluminum? That was the last industrial design decision we had to make when nearing the launch of our Movband 3 fitness activity tracker. Our design team was split for months, but now we needed to make the call quickly.
Are you a new product manager — or an experienced one who is interested in re-invigorating your career? If so, you’re likely looking for strategies, tips, and insights for how to make sure you are on track and moving forward.
I’ve been fortunate to hold diverse roles as a UX designer. I’ve managed my own consulting company, worked at a digital agency, and helped build two companies that were acquired. So, I’ve worked with many product managers throughout my career. And one experience early on still sticks with me. I thought I would share it today as an open letter to all product managers.
Two of my friends and I had a shared goal last year. We wanted to answer a long-standing question: “What makes a great VP of Product? And how is that different from what makes a great Product Manager?”
I learned a tough product management lesson a few years ago. My startup product team and I had spent the past six months working on our new software product in beta before we were ready to launch it. It was our biggest launch yet, with several prominent blogs and news outlets planning to cover it. No pressure, right?
I speak with close to 100 Product Managers at companies of all sizes every week. And no matter how big each company is, I hear a common theme in these discussions: Their product backlogs have devolved into black holes. Features are put in — but most never come back out as implemented.