Feature Bloat – The Silent Epidemic

Feature Bloat

Do you ever feel like your product is difficult to explain or is becoming more clunky? While it’s easy to add features to your product, it’s much harder to maintain a polished experience. You can end up being a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. There comes a point when you have to stop. We’ve… continue reading

How To Build Products Like A Product Manager

How to Build Products from Influential Product Managers

The last thing you want your rock star development team to build is a product that collects digital dust. Product management is the difference between building something and building something people actually use. “Good companies manage Engineering. Great companies manage Product.” — Thomas Schranz What is product management? Simply put, product management is the heart of a… continue reading

6 Anti-Patterns Every Product Team Should Avoid

Product Team Anti-Patterns

Product team anti-patterns easily (and repeatedly) slip into the fast paced day-to-day of startups and large organizations. I was fortunate enough to see Bill Scott of PayPal speaking at Silicon Valley Code Camp. He shared a number of amazing lessons learned on how to create great products. Here are six anti-patterns that Bill suggests your product team… continue reading

Good companies manage Engineering, great companies manage Product

Steve Jobs with Steve Wozniak

Over the last few months while doing customer development for Blossom I’ve talked to a lot (hundreds) of software companies. There was one key pattern that I’ve noticed over and over again. Some companies approach software development as an engineering management challenge. Others approach software development as a product management challenge. Good companies manage Engineering. Great companies… continue reading

How to Focus with Work-in-Progress Limits

How to Focus with WIP Limits

When I’m working on multiple things at once, and priorities constantly change, it can feel like I’ll get nothing done. Not only does my mind feel like a jumbled mess, I’m always thinking about the next task to complete. The good news is, I’m not alone. Studies show that multitasking isn’t the most productive way… continue reading

10 Product Management Hacks for Times when you’re strapped for Resources

Seaman 2

You might be a startup or a product team inside of a larger organization. Everything is super urgent and needs to be finished by yesterday. You are strapped for resources and desperately try to make ends meet. Anxiety kicks in. Motivation turns into pessimism & cynism. Things get worse. Way worse. — Been there done that. Here… continue reading

The Scarcest Resource at Startups is Management Bandwidth

2013-06-25-msuster-ogimage

When you work inside a startup with lots of clever and motivated staff you’re never short of good ideas that you can implement. It’s tempting to take on new projects, new features, new geographies, new speaking opportunities, whatever. Each one incrementally sounds like a good idea, yet collectively they end up punishing undisciplined teams. I… continue reading

Why Companies should have Product Editors, not Product Managers

product-editors

One of the most compelling organizational things I’ve read about lately is Square’s practice of referring to their product team as Product Editors and the product editorial team, rather than the traditional “Product Management” title. Wanted to share some quick thoughts below about it. Product managers: One of the toughest and worst defined jobs in… continue reading

The Last Responsible Moment

last responsible moment

In Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit, Mary and Tom Poppendieck describe a counter-intuitive technique for making better decisions: ”Concurrent software development means starting development when only partial requirements are known and developing in short iterations that provide the feedback that causes the system to emerge. Concurrent development makes it possible to delay commitment until… continue reading

How to hire a Product Manager

ken-norton-hire

It’s been a while since I was hiring at a startup, and recruiting at a startup is very different from hiring at a big company. At Yahoo! Search, it seemed like we were constantly hiring. I did an average of 5-8 interviews a week. It was a never-ending drumbeat of resumes, interviews, and offer letters.… continue reading