Welcome! Here you'll find my collection of writings on product management and productivity. I am sharing my knowledge and experiences learned over my career in the hopes that it will help you excel in your role.
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Product Ownership is Taken, Not Given
Ownership is taken, not given. If you are starting out in product management, don’t wait for your boss to give you responsibility over a product line. Prove that you deserve it and then take ownership. How do you prove you deserve it? Understand the company’s strategic vision. Be able to articulate that strategic vision and how the current product fits (or doesn’t.) Understand your product inside and out. Understand your competitors inside and out and know why they make the choices that they make.Read More
How to Build Better Products by Asking Yourself One Question
As Product Managers we’re constantly running around in 50 million different directions. It’s easy to lose focus under the barrage of feature requests coming at your from sales, marketing, customer support, customer interviews and internal stakeholders. You end up spending too much time looking at your product as “that thing that you’re selling” when you should be really asking yourself “What am I really selling?” There is a classic analogy used in sales to sell the sizzle, not the steak.Read More
Want to build a better product? Stop obsessing about it (here’s what to focus on instead)
This post was updated from an earlier piece Assume for a moment that you just returned from a cross-country trip. You’re sitting at home looking at your credit card statement with all of the trip expenses. Which companies are most likely to show up on your bill? If you flew, maybe it’s USAir or JetBlue. If you drove, you’re likely to see Exxon, Lukoil or some other gas stations.Read More
What John Mulaney can teach us about bad UX design
Last night we went to see John Mulaney at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. We arrived at 6:45 to find two lines wrapped around the block. I expected a line, COVID screening takes time. What I didn’t expect to find was a second line inside the theater where people were taking our phones and watches and putting them into security bags. I was really looking forward to this evening. It was the first time I’ve seen a popular comedian in a venue like this.Read More
Product Management is not Project Management
These two terms are often used interchangeably and yet, other than having the word “management” and sort of sounding the same, they are vastly different things.
In many organizations senior management will point to a project manager and say “He’s our product manager.”Read More
Focus on the problem, not the solution. I just spent about a half an hour looking online for replacement photo sleeves for a baby album that sits on a shelf in my office. I needed to do this because the sleeve was torn. After coming up empty and thinking I’d have to toss the whole thing in the trash I realized something pretty obvious… There were about two dozen unused sleeves in the back of the album.Read More
My Productivity Workflow
Working efficently is the hallmark of a great product manager. Here's the workflow I use to get s**t done.Read More
Finally! Never Look at Another Piece of Paper in Your House Again
Note: This is an update to the post I originally published here. I don’t update that site anymore and am pulling relevant content onto this website. I have a huge filing cabinet and I hate using it. Each day, I get mail – junk mail, bills, medical records, brochures, manuals, school work, investments. You name it, I get it. These papers end up stacked like little mountains in my kitchen, on my step and on top of my filing cabinet.Read More
What to do with your physical stuff after a GTD sweep?
I’ve recently jumped back into Getting Things Done after a year or so lapse. Yesterday I “corralled my stuff” by going through my office and clearing out every self, nook and cranny.
Following David Allen’s method, I processed all of that stuff by tossing it, filing it or making a note of it as a Next Action in my system. It was an incredibly freeing process. I feel like at least as far as my office goes, I have a pretty good handle on all of my open loops. I was using a laundry basket as a giant container for the physical stuff that I needed to do something with.Read More