It’s that time of year — the mad dash to get everything figured out for the next year. Planning, budgeting, and roadmapping season is in full force. So let’s make it our New Year’s resolution for 2020 to do product strategy right.

Most companies spend one day or a weeklong offsite setting their strategy. Work starts and ends in those time bounds. Sound familiar? When we rush the process of setting strategy and don’t base it off cold hard facts, we end up in the Build Trap.

Strategy is a living thing. You’re constantly evaluating it, refining it, and deploying…


A while ago, I was interviewing a VP of Product candidate for a client. They were on the case study portion of the interview, where they had to prioritize major initiatives for the company. We explained that the objective wasn’t to get the prioritization completely right, and it was more for us to understand their thought process. They had access to any people or any data they needed from the company.

The candidate first went to the CEO and talked to him about the short term and long term goals of the company, which ended up being something like…


I met Martin Burns in 2013 at Lean Agile Scotland. It was only the second conference I had ever talked at, and I didn’t know that many people. He welcomed me into the Lean Agile Scotland family with open arms.

I’ve read two tributes about him online now and laughed when both of them said “he was an amazing friend despite our differing beliefs”. That was so Martin. A staunch supporter of SAFe, he’d always be the one to poke on twitter or ask the hard question at the end of your talk.

The thing was, Martin just loved debating…


46.8% of product decision makers cite lack of quality data as the main challenge they make when making decisions and only 21.9% always or almost always use data to back decisions.
Source: How Decisions Are Made by Alpha

Everybody in Product has subscribed to the importance of data as a driver of high quality decision-making by now.

But tragically few are able to do it. 😫

Enter: Product Operations — the art of removing obstacles from evidence-based decision making. Done right, it fuels a virtuous cycle of benefits that’ll empower everyone from the executive team all the way to each…


The process is a means to an end, not the end itself.

You knew there would be a cat.

Over the past five years, I’ve trained over 5000 Product Managers who were new to the field. These have been at large companies, small companies, online, in person. The works.

While the work has been incredibly rewarding, it’s also left me conflicted.

Why?

Because year after year I get the same questions.

“How do I put this into JIRA?”

“What is a user story vs a task.”

“Why would I care about my user’s happiness when I’m building a product they have to use?”

A great Product Manager I trained at one of my clients the other day told me:


We’re blasting off, but keeping the cats.

I’m very excited to announce a new division of Produx Labs, specifically focused on growing future Chief Product Officers for growth stage companies.

In late March of 2018, Insight Venture Partners reached out to me about an opportunity. When they asked me what I was passionate about, I said developing great product leaders. Little did I know that would soon become a reality.

Over the next few months, Produx Labs and Insight Venture Partners created a partnership that was two-fold: provide right-sized services to scale Product Organizations at their growth stage companies, while growing future CPOs for those companies.

The…


“What have you tried to fix that problem?”

Over the past year, I’ve spent most of my time working with Product Managers, UX Designers, and Leadership of companies going through some sort of change. Change in process, change in roles, and a lot of change in expectations. Usually this is branded as an “Agile Transformation”, but whatever you want to call it, it’s change.

With that change comes a lot of uncertainty, and resulting from that, angst. …


When I first started in Product Management, I was told that my job was to keep my stakeholders happy. My stakeholders were members of the sales team. I understand that many Product Managers are taught better today that stakeholders include customers and users, but I was taught the term was reserved for internal folks who had a say in our product. Customers and users were considered separately, and handled differently. So for the purposes of this article, I’m just talking about the internal stakeholders of your company.

Part of my job was “managing” these stakeholders. I kept them informed of…


The existential crisis for the ages

“What is the difference between a Product Owner and a Product Manager?”

It’s an interesting question and one that takes time to unpack. Let’s look at where these terms and disciplines originated from and how some common frameworks explain them.

When I started my career, I was called a Business Analyst. I did very little “business analysis” as we would look at it in traditional IT companies. Honestly, I did very little of what I teach as Product Management now either. I was tasked with gathering the requirements from sales, coming up with a solution, designing it, and then shipping the specification document to development to be built.

I went on being…


What does an effective sales team look like at a product-led organization?

Just like this

“Sales already promised it.”

I once joined a B2B company as a Product Manager in the the middle of the year, so their entire product roadmap was set and in motion. My team was responsible for building a feature that I quickly realized did not align with our strategic initiative for the product. I questioned the purpose of this feature, and was met with the worst possible answer: “Oh, well the sales team promised it to one of our big customers, and they’ve already included it in their…

Melissa Perri

CEO of Produx Labs and Product Institute. Product Management Consultant, Teacher, and Speaker. Blogging at melissaperri.com

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