From Data to Product

In an ideal world, product managers have plenty of data they can use to validate their idea before building the wrong product. Yana Yushkina describes her journey from a Data Analyst to a Product Manager.

She talks about characteristics a good PM should bring, that include foundational analytical understanding, curiosity not just for technology but to search for the right answers in data, a sense of responsibility and the ability to communicate.

All of that combined with the right metrics at hand and self sufficient mindset will give a Product Manager the right answer from data.

Via Product School.

GitHub Actions

GitHub
GitHub

GitHub today released a CI/CD Tool, GitHub Actions. With the tight integration into development workflows and rich, community maintained build-command, actions appears an interesting competitor in the market. As a minimum, the release indicates the importance of CI/CD for the modern software development lifecycle.

Developer productivity and frictionless workflows have been buzzwords for the past half decade and the arrival and rapid growth of Travis-CI, Jenkins or Cirlce-CI have proven the resonance in development organisations. GitHub has outstanding testimonials from day one on the announcement and the ecosystem appears to be ready to go.

It is an offering that comes with appealing integrations and a competitive price, that sure is worth watching.

GitHub Actions makes it easy to automate all your software workflows, now with world-class CI/CD. Build, test, and deploy your code right from GitHub. Make code reviews, branch management, and issue triaging work the way you want.

7 Powerful Talks To Make You a Better Product Manager

Should you be working in Product Management, this may well be a good selection for Sunday evening to watch:

TED Talks for Product Managers
TED

As a product manager, you’ll want to continuously be seeking out new ways to learn, new information, fresh ideas, and inspiration. It’s a constant learning process, and it’s important to stay open and stay motivated. While there are many resources out there, including books, blogs, podcasts, influential people on social media, and tons of online publications, there is something we love about TED Talks.

1.) How great leaders inspire action, by Simon Sinek

2.) Chris Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space

3.) Sheena Iyengar: The Art of Choosing

4.) Margaret Gould Stewart: How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too)

5.) Guy Kawsaki: The art of innovation

6. Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

7. Navi Radjou: Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits

Source: 7 Powerful TED Talks To Make You a Better PM

Culture and Organizational Change

Just a small observation I made during AWS Transformation Day. While the entire theme for the event was on transforming business, the schedule had one track for “Culture and Organizational Change” alone. While Culture and Organizational Change is a broad and huge topic, but it is necessary and makes the difference for agility in rapidly changing and competitive markets. Amazon has been talking about this for years and they share their knowledge with their partners.

On an attempt to find out how organizations actually master this, the perspective most consultants and companies I talked to during the event shared with me was rather sobering. Anyone exhibiting at that event merely offered to run any software project under an agile management. No support, consultancy or even efforts to drive actual change, whatsoever, at least nothing that would exceed a traditional software project scope.

Cultural and Organizational Change is something requiring executive buy in and is killed quickly by means of exhaustive efforts to plan ahead. Culture needs to embrace the possibility to change quickly, throughout the process. And the wish for management is human, to have transparency and perspective early in the process, it is just as natural in the process for developers to stay vague for items that are not yet clear.

Any cultural change needs to embrace bi-directual communication and the ability to break down complex. On first thought this sounds easy, but requires plenty of cooperation and trust in a clearly defined team. Culture is rooted in clear understanding of roles, responsibilities and not to mention last, trust of all members.

Prioritize Opportunities, Not Solutions

I cringe every time I see product teams use a spreadsheet to rank the ideas in their backlog based on some made-up math formula usually consisting of things like business value, user value, and technical difficulty. While this exercise is pervasive, it misses the point entirely. Our job is not to prioritize solutions. A product […]

Source: Prioritize Opportunities, Not Solutions | Product Talk

Product Management vs Product Ownership

The organisation that I am part of introduced an overlaying Product Management department only fairly recently, less than a year ago. Early in the time it was exciting to see this role dedicated to market and customer perspective, but it raised questions over how this was different from Product Ownership from day one.

Over the course of the past year many discussions have been led and lot’s of articles have been led. This week Anthony Murphy shared his perspective and experiences on the Product Coalition. While my own experiences with this separated role have been predominantly positive, I tend to see the necessity to split responsibilities for larger organisations. The article is reflecting on why the Agile movement created the Product Owner in the way it did and how it was meant to abolish the Product Manager to start with.

A story of love, hate, oppression and triumph

Source: The Collision of Product Management and Product Ownership

Competitive Analysis and Strategy To Win

A product’s success is not only defined by its features. Whether it can win in the market to a large extent is owed to the environment it is offered. Customer requirements, competitive offering, market climate, environmental conditions, total cost of ownership (TCO) can have an impact on the products success. A competitive overview is essential for any product manager and a competitive analysis can help sharpen the view.

Product School just today let Joao Fiadeiro share the experience he gathered during his tenure at Google as a Product Manager for Youtube.

Competitive Analysis and Strategy To Win by YouTube PM in Product School.

Competitive Analysis
Competitive Product Analysis

Source: Competitive Analysis and Strategy To Win by YouTube PM – Product School

Pyramid of product manager needs

Benoit des Ligneris describes a model in his article about the environment in which product management has to navigate. This environment has many influences, and a product evolves with influences from many sources. The Maslov inspired pyramid of Product Managers needs starts with real world dependencies. The market is the basis for any product, hence is the most needed input to any product and the product management. Further in the article Benoit describes the individual layers and why they are relevant to the Product Management organisation.

While objectively everybody will agree a Product Manager will need to mediate between these layers, it may be worthwhile to evaluate the level of influence each individual layer has in a particular organisation. Most often the influence on the product is reversed and higher levels influence outcomes more than they should.

It’s the product management organisations responsibility to feed the product by its needs and not just represent but balance all layers in the decision management process. A lot like in the Maslov pyramid, a healthy product starts with basic needs.

Product Management Pyramid
Product Management Pyramid

A useful and visual mental model that represent the product management role in relation to its environment.

Source: The pyramid of the product manager needs (Maslow inspired)

IntelliCode for AI-assisted now available

Microsoft trained an AI with Github projects that have more than 100 stars on them. The AI is supposed to help coding. And it is available now. AI is not yet there to take a programmers job, but Facebook took similar approaches to speed up development. Be afraid, coding people.

Symbolbild (Techcrunch)

IntelliCode, Microsoft’s tool for AI-assisted coding, is now generally available. It supports C# and XAML in Visual Studio and Java, JavaScript, TypeScript and Python in Visual Studio Code. By default, it is now also included in Visual Studio 2019, starting with the second preview of version 16.1, which the company also announced that. IntelliCode is […]

Source: Microsoft’s IntelliCode for AI-assisted coding comes out of preview | TechCrunch