When solving complex problems at scale, we use epics, features, and stories to align, focus, and coordinate the work of multiple teams to achieve the objectives of our organizations.
An epic represents the investment decision to solve a tangible problem; a collection of epics together represent a broader investment decision to advance the organization’s strategy. Most of the teams I’ve worked with in the past few years initially think about their epics in the wrong way – and once we change together how they write problem statements, it unlocks their potential to achieve great things on their own.
As Steven Haines first told me, “strategy first, roadmap second.” There is a step between the two – deciding which problems you will focus on solving with your product. Strategy defines the context for product strategy, and your product roadmap is a planning (and communication) tool for executing your product strategy. Understanding how problems are framed in your market is critical to developing a successful product strategy.
You know you’re a product manager when this image causes more than a chuckle. A few random thoughts inspired by this Rorschach test of product management concepts from sunk cost fallacy to intentionality.
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
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.
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?
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.
Fundamentally, product management requires you to assess, synthesize, and prioritize the needs which drive the creation of your product in the context of three main objectives: desirability, viability, and feasibility. While laudable, these objectives are too abstract to be actionable. That’s where the five lenses come in (I could not resist the Buzzfeed-styled title).