Working Better with Stakeholders — Three Key Techniques

Working with stakeholders can be tough. Whether it’s sales, marketing, PR, legal, or finance, these folks tend to have strong opinions about the product, and they are often more senior or more influential than you. They certainly are better at negotiation, escalation, and corporate politics. Your company is probably not offering good tools to deal with …

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The Most Important Thing

In a famous essay Martin Eriksson defined product management as “the intersection between the functions of business, technology and user experience.” While it’s flattering to imagine ourselves as the center of things, it’s also a strange way to define a role. Why do we need a function in an organization that is a composite of …

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Company Mindset – Mapping Out The Ultimate Challenge

When I talk to product teams and company leaders, one challenge comes up more than anything else: the mindset of the company. It seems that even in the 21st century many people feel that their companies are too top-down, sales-driven, output-focused, and traditional. This is a far-reaching problem. I see it in old businesses looking …

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Enough With Must-Have Features

Here’s a sentence that always fills me with dread: “We plan to adopt this new approach, just as soon as we launch these must-have features.”  The must-have feature list (AKA catch-up features) has become my nemesis—it’s forever standing in the way of progress. Usually it’s a laundry list of things copied from leading competitors, from …

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The Big Project Syndrome

There’s a common and highly destructive pattern I’m seeing time and again (and likely you have too). The leadership team falls in love with a big idea and turns it into a big project. This project becomes the top priority—apparently the future of the company depends on it. Other projects (including yesteryear’s top priorities) are …

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Think Learning, Not Experiments

I regularly meet teams that carry a heavy burden of guilt—they don’t experiment as much as they should. They aspire to build-measure-learn, but they mostly design-build-launch. They wish to run dozens of experiments per month, but barely squeeze-in one per quarter (and even that is typically a late-stage “MVP”.)  Both the teams and their managers …

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