I have flicked through the survey results from the past two years. If you are looking for some good insights into how other product groups are organized, the processes they are working through and their challenges I encourage you to read this. You’ll notice the biggest challenges for product management is alignment – with only 37% reporting a high-degree of alignment. I wonder a) do you agree and b) how do you or would you propose to fix this?
Each year Actuation Consulting conducts a global study of product team performance which examines the dynamics of high performing product teams. This year’s study was sponsored by 13 different organizations the majority of which are professional associations spanning the spectrum (product management, project and program management, user experience, etc.). This broad support makes the study truly unique.
Here is the Slideshare from a webinar hosted by the AIPMM and presented by Greg Geracie and Steven Starke.
In short, the 3 skills are 1) Setting a vision, 2) Getting stuff done and 3) Generating insights. There are interesting insights throughout the post, but I realized the first one left me feeling empty. I want to say, “anyone can set a vision, but it takes someone special to communicate it and lead people through it.”
Depending on where I am in the product life cycle, I can be consumed with trying to tell a story – my product story. I can be found generally working on or improving the vision statement, product positioning and some visuals that make it real for people. The role of product management was never about setting a vision, it’s about communicating the vision and making people believe the vision.
This is what separates the product managers from the visionaries.
I learned this in 1989 – KISS – keep it simple stupid. I remember this groundbreaking new (for me) perspective because it was my my first “programming” teacher who educated me on this wonderful principle to coding. Hard to believe a principle taught in the most basic of programming classes almost 25 years ago (OK, I am not that old!) is still lost on most software development.
I absolutely cringe when I heard the word “configuration” or “flag” or “option” and I am always amused (read saddened) when I hear Services will do it during implementation or Training will help. What a terrible way to build software?!?!?!
Simplicity is a foundation for my product management discipline. (I have many foundations.) Keep it simple. Learn your customers, provide a best approach and make it so world class that it oozes with value. They’ll adopt it, love it and tell people how wonderful your software is… it’s simple and easy to use.
I think you’ll enjoy this. It’s focus is on not only solving customer problems, but doing it in such a way that makes your “user awesome.” Focus on them, not yourself!
The inspirational Kathy Sierra kicked off the Business of Software Conference 2012 with this brilliant, brilliant, talk. Not only some of the smartest advice anyone has given about how to approach software development, there is also a trick that is guaranteed to make you feel more confident, more powerful and more in control of what you do. It costs nothing, takes no time and you can use it whenever you want to.
As cross-functional leaders, product managers need to lead with influence. This video provides great insight to better understand people’s desire for autonomy, mastery and purpose. As I watched this, I could not help but think of Simon Sinek’s quote: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” There is a correlation to when you struggling to lead people – understand they act because they believe what you believe and not until they believe. How do you inspire them to believe?