Art was always my favorite subject in school. Throughout my education, I had incredible mentors and teachers. During college, I was able to share these lessons with other students while working for a local non-profit called Generation Communication (GenCom, for short). At GenCom, I led high school students in creating social impact projects, such as recycling awareness and anti-smoking posters for other non-profits.
Are you panicking yet? It is that time of year. Last-minute gift shopping. Maybe you are rushing off to the mall or paying extra for overnight shipping. Or, if you celebrate Hanukkah, you are now just late. We get it — you want to give the people you care about the absolute perfect gift. Our team at Aha! feels this way all the time. But our gift-giving looks a little different.
Were you an awkward teenager? Not yet an adult but not a kid anymore. I know there were times when I was not quite sure where I fit in and what my role was. This is the beauty of growing up — you have time to try and figure it out (only to realize that the answer is never clear).
Angry customers. I have encountered a few. And I bet you have too — even if it was just in passing. Have you ever overheard a customer ranting at their waiter about a meal? Walked into a store while a rage-filled return was in progress? The reason for this anger is usually not whatever the customer is yelling about. The core issue typically stems from something that happened earlier in the day and not feeling valued. The frustration is simply redirected. Unfortunately.
Making promises is usually a bad idea for product managers (and worse for salespeople). We always advocate against promising features, unless you are absolutely confident that you will be able to keep your word. Last week, we pledged an integration update for Rally (CA Agile Central). And our confidence was justified — Rally users, today is your day.
I do not envy substitute teachers. While most of the class will follow the new leader, there are always a few kids who misbehave in ways they would not dare with the “regular” teacher. It is a job with lots of responsibility yet limited authority. Product managers can probably relate.
What is the path to building great products? It starts with strong communication between product, engineering, sales, and support teams. Every team deserves a purpose-built tool — but not at the expense of effective communication and collaboration. This is why we are committed to improving the way Aha! integrates with the tools you rely on most.
One day. Then two more. Still silence. This was several years ago when I was working at a large software company. I had sent an email to a colleague, hoping to address an important customer question about an advanced feature. The silent treatment continued. I was busy but I finally figured it out. Can you guess what happened next?
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.
I was looking for some inspiration. This was back in October 2016 and we were in planning mode. Our product teams at WhiteHat Security had spent most of the year struggling to stay true to one annual roadmap. But as we looked back, it was clear that what we had said we would do and what we were delivering simply were not the same. Why?
“You cannot improve what you do not measure.” This is what I wrote the first time I asked our team at Aha! to evaluate our own company. I wanted to know how people really thought and felt. Not just polite conversation — honest opinions. So, we sent out our first Employee Lovability Survey. What does that mean? Good question.
A terrible first day at a new job. You show up only to find your wonderful new boss is not ready for you. Nobody greets you. I would like to say I am making this up — but it happened to me. I once sat in the lobby for over an hour waiting to get going at a new job after graduate school.
Are you trying to get a clearer picture of what will really make an impact in 2018? I think this is the case for most product managers this time of year. Of course, you want to avoid the dreaded analysis paralysis. But to make the right decisions for your product next year, you need access to the right information. And quickly.
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.
“What is the difference between a product manager and a …?” You can fill in the rest of that question with more than a half dozen job titles — engineering manager, scrum master, project manager, business analyst, and more. Lots of aspiring product managers want to know the answer to these questions. It makes sense that people are curious about the overlap between different job titles. Why?