What to look for when optimizing your product team
You have an amazing idea and now it’s time to execute. Congratulations! It’s time to develop a digital solution but chances are, you need to hire a team. You can build a team in-house where everyone is centrally located, or build a remote/hybrid team where either the entire team, or parts of your team, are located in various locations around the world. You also have the option to hire full time employees or contractors. There is no right or wrong decision but it’s important to understand the trade-offs and hidden costs. As someone who has been both a full time employee and a contractor on these product teams, don’t just look at upfront costs when deciding on how to build your team. …
An analysis of user personas, ease of use and ergonomics
Even though my daughter is only 3 months old and about 12 pounds small, it feels like she has a minimum of 3 products per pound: diapers, wipes, bottles, bassinet, crib, pacifiers, clothes, swaddles, stroller, car seat, toys, etc…. There are so many baby products! As a product manager, I can’t help but to analyze them. Here is a mini analysis of 3 products that just missed being amazing because they over emphasized user personas, lacked focus on “ease of use”, or didn’t incorporate ergonomic designs into the solution.
Disclaimer: I have no personal connection to any of these products other than being a consumer. I intentionally omitted the brand names as my intention is to not leave bad reviews but rather analyze their solution from a product perspective. …
The foundation of a high performing team
If you are looking to immediately improve the effectiveness of your team, and you are executing an agile development process, I highly suggest analyzing how you are conducting your grooming sessions. As a product manager, I have a love/hate relationship with them. Grooming sessions can generate very painful and tedious discussions but are undeniably valuable. The biggest mistake I often see is that grooming and sprint planning sessions happen at the same time. However, the foundation for a high performing team is an effective grooming session.
What is a grooming session?
Grooming sessions are where deep understanding and exhaustive discussions happen about upcoming work. As a former colleague of mine used to say, “It’s how the sausage is made”. This is the time for developers and the quality team to ask tons of questions and challenge the product designs, user flows and use cases. This can feel very overwhelming! Sometimes these discussions are frustrating because the development team finds flaws in your once “perfect” product plan and you realize you have to go through another iteration process. Other times, grooming sessions are frustrating because you have to debate the smallest of details. I once had a 2 hour discussion about implementing soft delete vs. hard delete functionality. While I wanted to rip all my hair out, the team ultimately reached full product alignment and this is why grooming sessions are so magical. …
And the only reason I’m singin’ you the song now is ’cause you may know
Somebody in a similar situation
Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you’re in a situation like
that, there’s only one thing you can do
For my whole life, everyone I knew assumed that I would be working for the family business — a distributor of industrial packing supplies located on Long Island, NY. My dad started the business with my grandfather in the 1970’s. My uncle(s) were part of the business in various capacities, my mom was the website manager and I too worked there on and off my whole life. I worked in the warehouse, customer care, purchasing and business development groups. It was a family business with a family culture and some employees knew my father longer than I was alive. …
The Decision Making Process
I started my product management career in the summer of 2015, shortly after earning my MBA. My first PM position was at a global hardware company for about 2 years. I have since joined the world of agile software development. This blog compares how the decision making process differs between the 2 worlds.
As a hardware product manager, we are forced to make crucial unchangeable product related decisions extremely early on in the development process. Sometimes these decisions are made several years prior to when a customer will actually be using the product. From my experience, the hardware development cycle can take anywhere from about 12–18 months. …