Category Archives: Requirements

Articles on requirements gathering, documenting requirements, and requirements management. Our focus is on software requirements management primarily, but we also discuss business requirements and other types of product requirements . We address market requirements, functional specifications, and application requirements as well.

Minimum Valuable Problem

redacted use case dependency thumbnail

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.

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Professional Services and Improving Your Product

Prioritization at whiteboard

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?

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Product Owner Manager – Alone Together

thumbnail of venn diagram

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?

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Features do not a Product Roadmap Make

list of features

Last month, Mike Smart of Egress Solutions and I gave a webinar for Pragmatic Marketing on product roadmapping when working in agile environments. We had a great turnout of over 1500 people in the session – with not nearly enough time to answer all of the questions.

One attendee asked, “Please explain how a prioritized list of features is not a roadmap?

A fantastic question, which we did not see in time to answer during the call.

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You Don’t Know Jack (or Jill)

Candles

You’ve got some shiny new segmentation data about prospective customers; how much they earn, where they are located, how old they are. How does that help you make decisions about your product? You know this information, but you don’t really know your audience, or why they might become your customers.

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Why Not What – An Example

Obscenely complicated WW2 U-Boat controls

Forbes quoted Steve Jobs as saying “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”  This is a really enlightened perspective – and a way to enforce focus from the top down.  Before you can drive a “this goal is more important than that goal” focus, you have to make sure you’re actually focusing on the goals.

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Opposite Views of a Product Roadmap

Spinning cat optical illusion - different people see it spinning in opposite directions, some people can switch

Your product roadmap is a view of what you are building right now, in the near future, and in the more distant future.  Or is your roadmap a view of why you are building whatever you’re building right now, in the near future, and in the more distant future?

Your roadmap is both – but one is more important than the other – and product managers need to be able to view the roadmap both ways.

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Classifying Market Problems

amphicar

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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