The Software Product Management Blog

Grab a front-row seat to the world of software product management, where I share everything from industry insights to personal anecdotes, aiming to enlighten, educate, and empower those passionate about crafting cutting-edge software products.

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How to Be the Product Manager Every Company Wants to Hire

My daughter once decided she was going to try out for the school musical. I asked her if she was going to rehearse before hand. “Nah, I’m good.” she replied. Fast-forward two days later she gets in the car crying because she was asked to sing a song during the audition. Needless to say she didn’t get the part. Hopefully she leared the value of preparation. It’s not the school play but landing the product management job of your dreams requires the same level of preparation.

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Lazy UX Design - Phone Number Fields

Grrr, I hate poorly designed forms. I’m especially annoyed by forms that want humans to think like computers. Case in point, take a look at this phone number field from Bed Bath and Beyond. Phone numbers in the US can take many forms - parens around the area and dash separated are the most common. What isn’t common is a form typed out without any separators. However, lazy design forces that on people.

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Don't start a business until people are asking you to

Derek Sivers just posted an article about starting a business that has some really great advice that while obvious is often overlooked. In a nutshell: Don’t announce anything. Don’t choose a name. Don’t make a website. Don’t build a system. You need to be free to completely change or ditch your idea. Yet too often we get sucked into doing all of those things? Why? Because it feels like work. It’s not though.

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When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods

There are many different ways to research your users. So many in fact that it’s hard to know when to use a particular method. In this post, the author lays out framework you can follow to help you determine which UX research method to follow. In When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods the author describes a framework for choosing which research method to use based on where you are in the lifecycle of a project.

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5 Scrum Experts Weigh in on Splitting User Stories

User Stories are the building blocks used by Scrum teams to develop working software. When stories start out they often describe large areas of functionality that can’t be completed in one sprint. Beginning Scrum teams often fall into the trap of breaking the stories down by technical area (i.e., front end work, back end work, database work, etc.) The problem with this approach is that the resultant stories don’t deliver value to a customer.

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Prioritizing Product Requirements with Scorecards

One of the product managers core responsibilities is to effectively prioritize product features. To an outside observer this often looks like reading tea leaves. Creating a process in your organization to effectively rank product initiatives will help create transparency and avoid squeaky wheel prioritization. I’ve collected some research on the topic below. This first article from Karl Weigers suggests using a cost / benefit ratio to prioritize product features. I’ve used this method in the past and thought it was pretty effective.

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How to delight customers like Papa John’s Pizza

A recent trip to Papa John’s Pizza Yesterday, I decided to order pizza from Papa John’s. It’s not typically my go-to choice, but its convenience is undeniable. I phoned in my order and was informed it would take about 20 minutes to prepare. Surprisingly, when I arrived at the store just 12 minutes later, the employee at the counter immediately recognized me and my order, saying, “You’re here for the Pepperoni Pizza, right?

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Great 15 minute overview of the role of Product Owner

Henrik Kniberg, Agile/Lean coach at Spotify & Lego gives a 15 minutes presentation on being a product owner. I love the way he condenses this information down into a digestable bit. Some key takeaways here. Your agile teams should be cross functional. Don’t get bogged down in manual regression testing. Invest in automated testing and continuous integration. Every story needs at least one automated acceptance test and unit tests on the code.

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Add Agility to your Product Management Process

Agile is a software development process that focuses on delivering customer facing value in small iterations. This article assumes that your development team works in Agile Scrum. At my current company, the Product Management Process is what I would term Scrumfall. We do not build heavy Product Requirements Documents that we turn over to developers. Rather, we plan iterations while still maintaining an overall vision of what we think the final product should look like.

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