Our Top 5 Product Management Posts of 2014

best product management blog posts

It’s been a big year for our blog here at Aha! and to celebrate we are taking a moment to pause and reflect. We’ve been humbled by our growth as more than 100,000 visitors found us here in 2014. Out of more than one hundred posts that we shared through the blog there were certainly a few that resonated with product managers more than others. In case you missed them, here are the top 5 product management posts of 2014.

1. The Product Manager vs. Product Owner

product manager and product owner

Growing businesses really benefit from having externally focused product managers and internally focused product owners — and the people are happier too. When companies achieve a meaningful level of customer success and the engineering team is larger than about 20 — many companies split the product role. They decide to invest in a market-focused product manager who is externally focused and works on the long term vision, and an internally focused product owner who supports the engineering team and manages the software development details.

2. Hey Product Managers — Stop Pissing Off The Engineers

Product Managers Guide to Pissing Off Engineering

The intersection between product and engineering is where the magic happens for software companies. And great product management is usually the difference between mediocrity and awesome.

Great product managers operate from a position of knowledge and confidence but are dependent on engineers for product, business, and career success. Your job is to humbly lead with conviction, focus on the “why” and “what” and put your product team and engineering in a position to shine.

3. The Minimum Lovable Product

Forget the Minimum Viable Product

The MVP is a curse for ambitious technology companies that want to grow. In an increasingly transactional world, growth comes from long-term customer happiness. And long-term customer happiness comes when customers adore your product or service and want you to succeed.

You should be thinking about what it will take for customers to love you, not tolerate you. Really think about the type of mindset change it would take. What would it take to create a Minimum Lovable Product?

4. “Design Thinking” Destroyed Us

Design thinking product management

As businesses reach to develop frameworks for gaining deep customer insights while reducing the risk associated with major product developments — design thinking offers a guide. It can be used to put the customer at the center of a discussion and empower UX and product teams to think differently.

However, as we painfully learned, design thinking definitely is not a cure-all. And it will destroy you as well if you try to apply it to every product problem that needs to be addressed on your way to building what matters.

5. The Engineering Death Spiral

Engineering death spiral

If this is familiar, your business is in trouble. But, it is still possible to escape. The key is to be able to identify the symptoms of the engineering death spiral before it’s too late. If you listen closely to the engineering team, you can easily diagnose it in small and large team by identifying the following characteristics. Here is what to listen for and what you can do if you hear these telltale phrases.

We are excited about what 2015 has in store for brilliant strategy and visual product roadmaps. What were your favorite posts of the year? Let us know on Twitter and have a Happy New Year!

About Keith and Aha!

Keith is a product marketing pioneer. He is the VP of Marketing at Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software. Previously he blazed new trails in customer acquisition strategy at RealPage [RP], a top 10 SaaS company with more than 60 products worldwide.

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