Every product manager can learn from Saeed Khan. His Product Management Metrics presentation (embedded above) is one of the best that I have seen.
1. Goal of Product Management: Deliver measurable business results through product solutions that meet market AND company objectives.
2. Manage products in a systematic way.
3. The four major focus areas to track and manage are: Business, Organization, Go-to-Market, and Product
4. Forget about Product Life Cycle Stages. Focus on Product Lifecycle OBJECTIVES.
5. Product lifecycle objectives are: Build it, Nail it, Scale it, Extend it, Milk it, End it! (I absolutely love this mantra.)
6. Each Lifecycle stage has its own unique Product Management focus and objectives.
7. Use key business metrics to manage each focus area for the current product lifecycle stage.
Saeed's dashboards are excellent templates to use. Highly recommended.
Guy Kawasaki: “Don’t get me wrong. I love Wendy’s, but I’ve never thought I was participating in “leadership, innovation, and partnerships" when I ordered a hamburger there. The root cause of mission statement-itis is that most organizations are run by people who have either gotten an MBA or worked for McKinsey—or both."
I'll add that this is also why many companies spend big bucks redesigning corporate logos and ending up with either pretty much the same thing or get a bastardized blah that no one understands or cares about (can you say "Pepsi"?), prioritizing branding elements over real functionality or benefits that affects the user experience (what the customer is willing to pay for).
Guy was the product evangelist at Apple in the early days and is a great source of practical inspiration on Marketing and Selling.
Read more: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/01/mantras_versus_.html#ixzz1yM298ayw
Happy Father’s Day to me. I celebrated Father’s Day by spending a day with the boys at the playground and at home while my wife went out. (She has them for the whole summer so she can use the break.) I really sincerely hope that I can watch my boys grow up, get a good education, (happily) earn a decent living, marry some nice girls, have their own families, and just be very, very happy and healthy. I’ve been thinking about advice and thoughts that I'd like to pass on to my boys.
Words to My Boys:
1. Be happy (just not at the expense of others).
2. Laugh. Smile. Sing. It’s fun to imitate Curly from the 3 Stooges (nyuck, nyuck, nyuck).
3. Father beats boy up; when boy grows up, boy beats father up. Remember: I never beat you.
4. Be humble.
5. Be grateful.
6. Run your own race. Find your own your path, goals, objectives, meaning in life.
7. Your attitude will determine your altitude. Think positive and constructively no matter what the situation. You may not be able to change the direction the wind blows, but you can adjust the sails.
8. Stay away (run!) from negative, pessimistic people. They will only drag you down and waste your energy.
9. The most meaningful things in your life should never be sacrificed to those that are least meaningful.
10. Every label you give yourself limits who you are.
11. Work hard. Play hard.
12. Save money for a rainy day.
13. Money cannot buy you love. (It can rent love but don’t do that.)
14. Don’t lend money.
15. Don’t gossip. Always talk about others as if they are present.
16. The 10 commandments are pretty good rules.
17. Read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.
18. Don’t ever be afraid of anything or anyone. Live with passion, awareness, and purpose.
19. Be kind and charitable. Don’t ever look down upon anyone unless you are offering to help them up.
20. Soda is bad for you.
21. Stay away from drugs. Don’t even try or experiment.
22. Brush and floss every day, after every meal if possible,
23. Deep down, you will know if it is right or wrong without trying to rationalize it. Always live with integrity.
24. Love and care for each other. We are family.
25. Of all my accomplishments, treasures in my life – being your dad and having you two are number 1. (Also marrying your mom, just in case she reads this.)
I'll probably have more but these are the top 25 on my mind.
I volunteered at and attended the ProductCamp Boston gathering on Saturday. What a fantastic event! It’s an “unconference” where those in or interested in product management gather to share ideas and experience. Unlike a formal event, it’s all organized by volunteers. Potential presenters who wanted to start a discussion each gave a 30 second pitch to @ 300 attendees at the start and everyone then voted to set the day’s agenda with rooms and times then set. You then go to the assigned rooms to listen and participate in the topics that you care about. The venue was unbeatable: Microsoft NERD (New England Research Center) in Cambridge, MA
This year’s topics included: Prioritizing Features and Roadmaps, Sales’ Point of View of PMs, UX Design, Dashboards, Freemiums, Gamestorming, PM Myths, PM Career Roadmaps, etc. Steve Robins gave a great presentation on “The Invisible Customer” which very much summarizes creating solutions rather than products. His talk should be a primer for anyone in product management or development.
Events like these are very important to me because there an MBA for Product Management doesn't exist (I remember a professor at MIT Sloan wondering aloud about why there wasn't a course on selling). Much is learned and you have to draw from different parts of your education, experience, past lessons (aka mistakes & failures) and skills.
Besides, where else can someone crack a joke about the meeting being "agile" and everyone getting the pun? (I was waiting for a follow-up joke about having to work with SCRUM….never happened.)
Some of my takeaways:
1. PMs all share similar problems no matter what markets, industries, or companies are.
2. Understanding and aligning with the company goals is critical and should be a first step in any endeavor.
3. Soft skills are key to success in working with other stakeholders. Meet with individuals to get shared buy-in.
4. You must define the buyer personas for your products.
5. Your gut is just that. It’s just part of the necessary input. We’re not Steve Jobs.
6. Don’t fall in love with technology for technology’s sake. If the customer doesn’t care, then it’s not that important.
7. Go see the customer and targeted buyers to understand their problems.
8. There are plenty of smart and hungry Product Managers out there (just like me).
Here were 2 very noteworthy talks at the event:
I was in a forum discussing what skills and traits make a great product manager. There were hundreds of replies and they varied greatly. Some were adamant about passion, ability to see the future, making decisions based on hard data, etc.
In my opinion, none of the replies were wrong but they were too absolute. Successful product managers work from a tool box and know what tools to use in each project, campaign, or circumstance. I always review the project, life cycle, current market, resources, teams, etc. and adjust my approach accordingly.
I found a great image capturing many of the common PM traits and embellished it to include grit, energy, experimentation, transparency, humor, and enthusiasm. I'm very sure that most of this collage would apply to managers in general.
What would you add to this list?
Original image: http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/5361235/What_is_Product_Management%3F
Frank Lio is a Product Manager, Strategist, and Change Agent in the Hi-Tech industry. His growing track record of successes include creating 3 winning software products, leading nationwide seminars, and turning around a failing business unit. He is currently serving a dual role as Product Manager and Business Team Support Manager at Instron ITW.
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