Category Archives: Product Management

Articles that relate to product management, or are of particular interest to product managers.

Classifying Market Problems

Theodore Levitt may have developed the whole product model to help companies compete more effectively with their products.  We wrote about the whole product game based on Mr. Levitt’s work.  Recently, I’ve been using a variant of this model as a way to view a product and upcoming roadmap items.  It is a powerful way to share a perspective on your product with the rest of the team, and frame conversations about where best to invest.

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Agile Cadabra

Agile is not magical. Changing from a waterfall process to an agile process changes how your team works, and helps eliminate inefficiencies. Adopting an agile process does not let you magically have a more successful product. What makes agile powerful is also makes it dangerous.

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How is SaaS Changing Product Management – A Research Thesis

Paddy Barrett in Ireland is preparing his Master’s thesis on Product Management and would like to interview (USA) state-side product managers for his primary research.   It would be awesome if you could help him, and help us all.

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Whole Product Game

How can Theodore Levitt’s classic Whole Product approach help with defining a product roadmap?  I’ve been revisiting his concepts and their use recently, thinking about how to revise them for some exercises I’ve been doing with product teams.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Ignoring Context

Wrapping up the your product failed because you didn’t enable your users to realize value branch of the root causes of product failure, is this article on the context in which your user is using your product.  If you ignore your user’s context, they won’t be able to realize the value you provide – or won’t be interested in solving those particular problems at that particular time.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Forgetting that Users Learn

Next up in the series on the root causes of product failure – products that fail because you have ignored the user’s level of experience.  The first time someone uses your product, they don’t know anything about it.  Did you design your interfaces for new users?  After they’ve used it for a while, they get pretty good at using it.  How much do you think they like being forced to take baby steps through a guided wizard now?

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Why Do Products Fail? – Incomplete Solutions

This article continues the series exploring the root causes of product failure.  Even when you target the right users, and identify which of their problems are important to solve, you may still fail to solve the problems sufficiently.

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20/20 Vision – Innovation Game in Action

Having an outside-in bias as a product manager is important – you need to understand how your customers (or your customer’s customers) would value capabilities you might build into your product.  When running a workshop to collect that information, playing some “serious games” is a great way to get more and better information.  We ran a few 20/20 Vision games last week, to great effect.

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Why Do Products Fail? – Picking the Wrong User Goals


Continuing the series on root causes of product failure, this article looks at the impact of focusing on the wrong user goals.  Even if you have picked the right users, you may have picked the wrong goals – creating a product your customers don’t really need, or solving problems that your customers don’t care about solving.
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Why Do Products Fail? – Picking the Wrong Users

Exploring the reasons that a product might fail in the market is a useful way to triage and assess what you need to do to prevent the failure of your product.  Instead of taking the “do these things” approach as a prescriptive recipe for product managers, I’m approaching the exact same topic from the opposite direction.  I was inspired in part to explore this approach when thinking about the Remember the Future innovation game.  Instead of asking “What will the system have done?” in order to gain insights what it could be built to do, I’m asking “Why did your product fail?” in order to prevent the most likely causes of failure.

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