The pop-culture concept of a silver bullet – a simple solution to a hard problem – is a dangerous idea. It can be used to over-promise, and doom a team to under-delivery. When an executive, too far removed from what makes creating products hard thinks of “agile” as a silver bullet it becomes difficult to manage expectations.
Continue reading The Potential of Agile
Taking agile, a process otherwise optimized for small, cross-functional, collaborative teams and making it work at scale is fascinating. You have to change some elements, and retain others, as you redefine the context. Being outcome driven, is one element you must retain – or even elevate in importance, or you fundamentally break the system of delivery
Continue reading Agile at Scale – Outcome Driven (or Broken)
Assumptions are interesting things – we all make them all the time, and we rarely acknowledge that we’re doing it. When it comes to developing a product strategy – or even making decisions about how best to create a product, one of these assumptions is likely to be what causes us to fail. We can, however, reduce the chance of that happening.
Continue reading Playing Whack-A-Mole With Risk
Being “outside-in”, “outcome-based”, and “market-driven” is particularly important for creating successful products. The problem is that just saying the words is not enough to help someone shift their thinking. For those of us who are already thinking this way, the phrases become touchstones or short-hand. For folks who are not there yet, these may sound like platitudes or empty words. I know many people who want to switch their roles from “do these things” to “solve these problems.” They have to change their organizations. This example may help get the point across.
Continue reading Outside-In User Story Example
Defining and building a good minimum viable product is much harder than it sounds. Finding that “one thing” you can do, which people want, is really about a lot more than picking one thing. It is a combination of solving the minimum valuable problem and all of the other things that go with it. Solving for both the outside-in needs and the inside-out goals is critical.
Continue reading Minimum Valuable Problem
How do you work with professional services, consulting, field engineers, etc. to make your product better? Do you just treat their inputs as yet another channel for feature requests, or do you engage them as an incredibly potent market-sensing capability?
Continue reading Professional Services and Improving Your Product
Product owners and product managers. Two roles, often done by one person. Together, the product people need to take an organization’s strategy, figure out the appropriate product strategy, and convert that into actionable work for the delivery teams to create the right product. What does the product manager own, and for what is the product owner responsible?
Continue reading Product Owner Manager – Alone Together
If you ask someone if they require encryption on their device, first of all, you will likely get one of two answers – yes or no – useful for segmenting your market or developing persona. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a better answer – “you’re asking the wrong question!”
Continue reading Encryption is not Binary
Product owners are likely to find themselves alone in the organizational wilderness. Their organizations expect them to connect the towers of long-term strategic planning with the frontiers of great new products. Iterative and incremental development of solutions can bring these two worlds together. There’s always a gap between strategy and execution – and product owners are ideally positioned to help fill that gap.
What we need is a survival guide – a set of principles, tools, and techniques; learned and applied in a two-day “camp” with industry-leading experts in agile product management and product ownership.
Continue reading Product Owner Survival Camp
Software as a Service is not a one and done transactional offering. A product or business built on SaaS is built on the subscription model – recurring revenue is half of what drives the business (and valuation). The other half is the rate of growth of that recurring revenue. Customer Churn is the loss of existing customers and the slope that makes growing a subscription business an uphill climb.
Continue reading Customer Churn and SaaS