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45 Posts On Product Development

Published: May 14, 2016

I turned around today to realize that I just published my 45th Medium Post.

Some of it is crappy. Some of it is inspired. Typos. Angst. I’ve done it all.

But there has been something very meditative about sitting down and cranking one or two out each week. It has helped ME clarify my point of view.

Given that Medium doesn’t have a great index feature, I figured I’d provide one here. I’m grateful for the folks who have taken the time to read and comment.

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May 2016

45: Before You Join A Startup …

Some realities of joining a venture-funded startup

When you join a venture-funded startup, remember that you’re playing someone else’s game.#### 44: What Does “Sales-Driven” Even Mean?

I grapple with what defines a sales-driven organization

Prioritize the curb-appeal of your product over long-term customer value. For example, you actively build and sell flashy features which provide limited lasting value or fail to deliver on the sales promise.#### 43: Real World Kanban (A Cartoon)

What do most Kanban boards look like?

42: Your Product is a Service…

Your product isn’t confined to what you ship. Your product is the whole organization

Product is not something you “ship”. Increasingly, it is a service that the whole organization delivers continuously 1 22kk91DZxJKFScCMRQr98A

April 2016

41: Go Towards The Discomfort (It’s A Sign)

I partner with my friend Claire to dig into life’s tough decisions. And why we should, as a good heuristic, do things that are uncomfortable

It’s human to buckle, and it’s human to take uncomfortable risks. It’s also human to delude yourself, but also human — and possible — to get to yes with yourself. We are simultaneously creatures of habit and creatures of insight.#### 40: 100 Product Development Hats

Titles don’t mean much in product development. It takes many hats to build something awesome

39: The Killer Sales Instinct vs. Startup Validation

Why a great sales approach doesn’t necessarily aid in validating your startup’s growth model

38: Product! Stop Whining About Sales!

Product is to blame when sales attempts to sell “outside the box”

It’s our responsibility to shape a product that is easy to sell, easy to use, enables excellent outcomes for our customers, AND has a winning growth model.#### 37: 10 Common PM Intuition Traps

Sometimes what makes sense doesn’t make sense …

36: Opening Your Eyes to Real Customer Delight

We often rationalize sub-par customer feedback. What do delighted customers look like?

I’d argue that many of the product metrics we capture (e.g. engagement, conversions) are proxies for less tangible things like customer delight, advocacy, and product focus. The hard metrics can be used to predict churn and trial conversions, but they fail to cut at the central question: Is our product truly inspiring our customers and kicking ass?#### 35: Stop Setting Up Product Roadmaps To Fail

What job are you hiring your roadmap to do? Are you setting it up to fail?

34: A SaaS Startup Cautionary Tale

Video showing a common startup anti-pattern

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March 2016

33: How Much Does A New Feature Cost?

New features cost a lot more than you think. There are many hidden costs

32: Time Management: Tips for Product Managers

Product management is tough! How you manage your time can save your sanity

31: Your Startup: Food Truck or Buffet?

Are you trying to please everyone? Are you nimble enough to move/pivot if you need to?

30: Decision Making Transparency (The Why)

Explaining why you’ve made a decision is often more important than explaining the decision. The “what” may change, but the motivations remain powerful …

In the swirl of growth, it’s easy to confuse and conflate transparency on the decision making process, with transparency on actual decisions and details. The Why is scalable because it carries the original intent of our decision, and not just the tactic.#### 29: 12 Core Competencies For Product Managers

Hiring a product manager? Look for these core competencies

28: What Startup Sales Can Learn From UX

Sales and UX have a lot in common. Both look for the pain and opportunity

27: How To Tame Engineers, Be A Rockstar, and Ship ****ing Product

One of my most scathing/angsty pieces. Basically … all the worst things you can do as a product manager

To be successful we want engineers to relish their craft, and to take pleasure delivering exactly what we want them to deliver.#### 26: Team Health: A Daily Checkup

A quick daily team health checkout template

25: A Better Roadmap | Mind-Map | Mousetrap

A video covering an approach to mind-mapping your roadmap and/or strategy


Feb 2016

24: Getting The All-Hands Right

Tips for your company all-hands

23: Talking The Talk: 32 Conversation Prompts for Product Development Teams

Mad libs for getting your product development team to start having the right conversations

To feel more confident about our decision to ________, I would like to observe ________ Example: To feel more confident about our decision to add steps to the workflow, I would like to observe more customers completing the existing workflow#### 22: To Experiment Is Human. Reality is a **cker. And The Law Of Two Feet

I dig into the human need to experiment and have impact. And how when you don’t have that, you should use your two feet and move on

Most organizations are structurally and culturally incapable of making it safe for teams to experiment and occasionally fail.#### 21: Focus Until It Hurts

Startups talk about focus. But what does focus REALLY feel like?

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Jan 2016

20: The Iron Triangle Is Dead

Why safety and diversity are essential … everything connects

19: Persona(s) Non Grata

Tips on better personas, and how to defeat common objections

18: 50 Interview Questions For B2B SaaS Customer Research

You’re about to do a B2B Customer interview. How to you ask non-leading questions that uncover valuable opportunities?

17: As Product Managers We’re Asking Ourselves The Wrong Set Of Questions

Stop wasting your time trying to define product management. Ask Why.

In my view we’re asking the wrong question. We’re replacing a tough discussion of values and principles — as a whole team, not just as product managers — with discussions about titles, job descriptions, the org chart, and handoffs. The best perspectives on product development have nothing to do with defining and boxing a title.#### 16: This PM Hack Saved Me 1 Hour A Day (and helped me connect with more customers)

A quick hack for booking customer interviews

15: The Way Of The Product Whatchamacallit

Light take on effective product development teams

1 hKTvYck1I2LBlxEWiXdHlw #### 14: Hidden Costs of the Sales-Driven Roadmap

The costs of a sales-driven roadmap are not always immediately apparent

13: 10 Questions For Your (Product Role) Interviewer

Interview the interviewer. How to gauge whether the opportunity is the right fit

12: User Stories and Data

Tips on incorporating data directly into your user stories


Dec 2015

11: Juggling Growth and Usability: A UX Debt Primer

Battling the dreaded UX Debt demon. It’s never easy, but you’ll have to pay it down eventually

10: 104 Questions For Product Development Teams

The biggest listicle of all time. Question prompts for your product development team to ponder at all stages of development

Have we communicated those goals with a compelling vision? Does the vision inspire and focus our work? Can it be explained in a tweet? What is our “true north” ? Is the team engaged?#### 9: Product Ownership: 10 Core Principles

10 core principles underpinning the product owner role

8: Good Process, Bad Process

Not all process is bad. Consider the “creative process” …

7: Sticky Love — Choosing Between Physical Boards and Online Tools

Physical boards are great. Online tools are efficient. How to integrate the two

6: What comes to mind first …. love the problem and sense the impact.

An interesting reply to a thread on product management

help the team fall in LOVE with a customer/user/business (hopefully all three) problem AND then do whatever possible to guide the team towards a sense of real IMPACT.#### 5: Life, Death, Continuous Improvement, and Continuous Disruption

We are all disrupting ourselves at some point … as teams, individuals, companies, and cultures

Continuous improvement is the response to the drumbeat of atrophy and carrying dead weight. And it works hand in hand with continuous disruption. Basic process improvement and optimization relies on a repeatable future. Continuous improvement addresses a deeper need.#### 4: Dr. Obvious, Startup Validation, and Failure

You are running “tests” if your tests never fail

3: Inside My Kindle: 100 Books For PMs, UX, Entrepreneurs, Systems Thinkers, Design Thinkers, and…

All the books in my Kindle. In one place

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Nov 2015

2: 8 Trends Shaping Modern Product Management

Classic trend listicle

1: The System Thinking Change Agent Survival Guide

How to survive when you’re always asking “why” …