There is no try. But between do or do not, consider maybe.
“Strategy” is so widely misunderstood that Harvard Business Review dedicated an entire book of essays to the topic.
There’s a simple interpretation of strategy that I sometimes favor:
Strategy is guessing.
Granted, much of the time it’s informed guessing, culled from lived experience and domain expertise and precedents and fancy research reports, but make no mistake that strategy is guessing and that’s ok.
What’s generally less ok is the risk that un(der)examined guessing exposes us to.
But risk is, by its very nature, inescapable.
So to protect our…
The mission behind our Learn to Launch webinar series is to help founders and business owners successfully navigate the landscape of product management — from idea to execution and optimization.
Most recently we invited our dear friend Jim Semick, co-founder of ProductPlan — a fast-growing, self-funded software company to share some advice on launching and scaling a product company without outside funding.
The topic of Jim’s talk was How to Bootstrap a Successful SaaS Business.
When we say “bootstrap” we’re referring to the practice of using your own resources (typically money) to build your business, rather than solicit outside investment.
The fact is: building software is a production as involved as making a movie, and hiring just a developer (or two) isn’t going to get you there.
Then you need a whole product team.
So why then do most of us conclude that what we need is a developer?
I believe the intangibility of internet products has something to do with it.
For example, if you were going to produce a film you would surely agree you’ll need more than just a 2nd AD to get it written, filmed, edited and distributed?
With film we can see how big the…
How do you succesfully modernize legacy systems and launch digital products that work?
Here I’ll explore seven steps that can keep you from wasting time and money in digital transformation and software development.
It’s easy to add ideas and features, especially once the brainstorming juices are flowing. But what happens if you take an idea away? Does the whole strategy collapse?
Having a clear product vision is your polestar for assessing whether features are mission-aligned. Consider: if your goal is to be the world’s simplest to-do-list software, does a lengthy onboarding process aid or hinder that vision?
You’ve got a…
Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. — Bertrand Russell, Philosopher
Product teams are problem solvers. But oftentimes we get so caught up in the solving that we forget to really understand the problem. Moreover, we forget the humanity.
This is the essence of Human-centered design, an approach to product design and development that focuses on understanding the perspective of the human who is going to use the software.
Understanding and leveraging human-centered design can lead you to creating more compelling products and edging out your competition.
Below I explore human-centered design and other vital principles of building products people…
What are the recurring themes of your ideal life?
Most of us are frustrated with lack of progress toward the goals we’ve named.
We think we know why we’re stuck — too busy at work, too easily distracted, not enough money, never enough time. But all these are symptoms of an underlying cause we rarely examine.
Our foundation is weak.
To solve for this we need to “look under the hood.”
There is valuable information hidden in our “ideal life” — those recurring visions or fantasies we project onto the movie screen of our minds.
For just a moment, I’d…
For most product managers in charge of planning the product roadmap, the task of determining which features to include and which to prioritize is a daunting one.
Feature planning is made more difficult by pressures from designers who want an opportunity to showcase new user interface ideas and developers who may be motivated to execute the simplest possible version or be prone to over-complicating every detail.
So how do you plan and prioritize features effectively?
Try The Kano Model.
In the mid nineteen-eighties, Dr. …
This week I met with three former students — all graduates of my part-time product management class — to offer career advice.
I was struck by how different the circumstances were for each — some already successful in adjacent tech careers and wanting to make a step up, while others trying to make a big side step into a new industry.
Actually it wasn’t their differences that much surprised me.
After all, my class is always a heterogeneous collection of career-changers, entrepreneurs, designers or developers looking to “expand their role” and, often, recently promoted product managers who don’t quite understand…
The products we embrace most readily are the ones that make our lives (insert adjective here) fitter, happier, more productive.
Great products scratch us where we itch.
So if you want to create a successful product business, you start by creating a solution to a real problem. Or, as Paul Graham of Y Combinator says, “make things people want.”
By now this concept is widely understood by product people and is probably a pretty sensible notion to anybody hearing it here for the first time.
So what are we missing?
As Steve Blank put it, “startups don’t fail because they…
These days it seems I’m known less for my role as co-founder and CEO ofThe Development Factory — where we help conceive, design and build more than 80 products a year for brands and entrepreneurs — than I am for my role as Product Management Instructor at General Assembly.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore GA and I love teaching.
In one of my lectures I have a particular slide that reads:
I usually ask for a show of hands to see how many people have heard of the term “lean” or “lean startup.” …
I help people get where they want to go. I do this through life coaching, product management instruction, and business consulting.