Friday, February 27, 2009

Crossing the Chasm

Recently this book was being discussed and I decided it was time for me to understand this "chasm" a bit more. I picked up the book from Amazon (I love Amazon!) and read through it and took notes. Finished it up in about a week. I would definitely recommend this book to technology product managers and marketing professionals. It focuses on the product marketing and positioning for determining a target market and what it takes to get your products across the "chasm" of early adopters into the early majority. Here's a good summary.

You can learn more about this great book on Wikipedia - Crossing the Chasm

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Building trust with your team

Even though I come from an engineering background with almost 10 years of experience in all sorts of large and small companies, it was a lot harder than I thought to transition into a product management role. As an engineer, I always thought that "business team" didn't really do anything and that engineering was where the tire hits the road! Now that years have passed and I'm on the other side of that artificially created opposition, I've gained a deeper appreciation for how teams can work together to build great products.

One of my first lessons as a product manager involved forming a relationship with engineering built on trust that was mutually beneficial. Easier said than done! Here are some of the lessons I learned early on to help:
  1. Give Credit - It is NEVER about you. It's about the team! Take every chance you get to put the spotlight on them.
  2. Be Reasonable - As a product manager you have to balance between the sales and marketing teams who say "If you don't ask for it, you'll never get it" and the engineers who say "That's impossible to develop". Challenge and learn, maybe there is a phased approached and not every feature is a P1 feature.
  3. Establish yourself as a credible market represenative - Do your homework! Opinion's are not good enough, market and competitive data are needed to be prepared. Have you talked to customers? Prepare thoughtful questions and research.
Of course there are many more lessons I've learned, but that's enough for today....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The "Success Singularity"

Sometimes we are so focused on what has to get done next and what am I doing to get this project or product done, that we lose our "finish line" focus. As a product manager who also done some heavy lifting as a project manager, I have had to learn to step back and think about what the finish line looks like and how will the team know when we have crossed it.

I called today's musing the success singularity, meaning the point at which everyone can agree that the project or task has been completed. It must be indivisible. This about a track race, how do you know it's done. Simple, when the finish line tape is broken. It is the perfect definition of a "Success Singularity". It defines completion of the race and it is indivisible. By providing your teams with "Success Singularity" criteria you provide clarity and direction while minimizing potential confusion over the completion of a task or project.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My First Post

Why am I creating this blog? Well that's a great question. As I have grown in my career, I wanted to have a broader dialogue with other professionals about some of my product management musings. I wanted to share some of my lessons learned and hopefully learn from you about your lessons.