Author Archives: Matt Anderson

Project Outsourcing Best Practices

It was my privilege to be included in Reasons Your Outsourced App Project Gets Delayed (And How To Fix It), by Nidhi Shah of Arkenea. Check out the article to see what 8 product managers and project managers, including my product management friend Drew Bixby, have to say.

After You’ve Launched Your App: Keeping Users Engaged Past Year 1

I’ve asked some of my favorite product management and UX colleagues about best practices for keeping mobile apps successful and fresh past year 1. Read the posts or full e-book by clicking on these links and visiting the blog at UXPin…

Pt. 1: App User Engagement: Expert Advice from @tektalk, @ellenchisa, & @Li_Li_D

Pt. 2: App User Engagement: Expert Advice from @AndreAtDell & @rcauvin

Pt. 3: App User Engagement: Expert Advice from @SchulteElena, @delizalde, & @Paul_Yokota

Full e-book: App User Engagement: Advice from 8 Experts –

Photo credit (balloons): Flickr – Nicolas Raymond

Determining Ideal Release Frequency for Software Products

One of the questions product managers are constantly asking themselves is, “How do I get product updates into the hands of my users at a speed that is most beneficial?”

In 2011, I was a part of an industry that shipped software annually. All the companies in the industry were trying to figure out the best way to schedule their annual release to maximize the market splash. Should we release just after an industry event? Should we release just after the market share leader’s annual release? Should we release right after the board meeting? Should we release at the end of our fiscal year?

Over the last five years, many industries have shifted to more frequent releases, like quarterly, monthly, and weekly deployments. New deployment technology and hard work from DevOps teams have made it a different world for releasing software products. But it’s still a rich source of debate within organizations: what is the right cadence for your product(s)?

Pros and cons of shortening your release cadence

Pros Cons
Faster, predictable delivery of features and bug fixes Less time for you to squeeze in a feature or bug fix
The risk of a bad bug is lower in a smaller release Software bugs being released every 2 weeks will seem worse than if the same amount went out once a month
Faster feedback for the team More frequent meetings and shorter sprints mean a higher tax on the product manager/owner
The marketing, training, etc. teams have fewer items to cover when summarizing the release Release summary processes might need an overhaul to support more frequent releases
A shortened release cadence can be treated as an experiment There may be development costs associated with increasing the release cadence, like changes to the way the product gets updated

You’ll want to do the same sort of pros and cons list for your product’s particular situation. When you do that, you’ll want to consider some product management best practices. Here are some best practices for release cadence:

  1. Make the release less risky by making it small. The goal: minimizing bad changes vs. maximizing good changes.
  2. Your release cadence is not a race. Don’t make the release small because you want to hold to a cadence that your business doesn’t actually require. For example, if your users use your product once a month, who will notice when you push to weekly releases?
  3. Consider your release health. If releases every 4 weeks are good, it doesn’t mean that releases every 2 weeks are twice as good. It’s important to look at past releases for technical risks, like a ratio of documented bugs vs. release size.
  4. Evaluate the value a faster release cadence will give to the users that use the product the most. Your power users will feel a change in release frequency the most. Will a faster cadence make them have to give feedback faster? Will a faster cadence help them do the jobs they’re doing better and faster?
  5. Put your executive hat on. It’s not only the dev team and the user that matters…make sure that release cadence is in line with your executive team’s expectations.
  6. Re-evaluate your release cadence every few months. The answer to how appropriate the release cadence will vary over time, as your organizational behavior and your users change.

Did I miss a consideration for release cadence? Do you have any stories to share on the subject? If so, leave a comment.

For more product management articles, read The Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.

Interview with The Product Mantra

I’m honored to be in ‘The Three Questions for Product Manager’ series. Here were the three questions The Product Mantra asked me:

  1. How do you see the role of product manager evolving in the world of Mobile Apps?
  2. How often do you conduct competitive analysis, and are there any methods that you can share with us?
  3. What would be your suggestion for 3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts for Product Managers?

Check out the interview here!

200 Librarians to Follow on Twitter

It’s nice to have a support network of smart librarians to talk to and learn from on Twitter. I’ve compiled a list of 200 librarians I recommend following on Twitter. Read Library Science Daily for their contributions to my library world. I publish it every morning.


  1. Shannon Miller @shannonmmiller Teacher Librarian. 2014 LJ Mover & Shaker.Consultant. Denver, Colorado
  2. Phil Shapiro @philshapiro Washington DC
  3. Crime Travelers @PaulAertker Action-adventure travel writer for children. Author of Former cubicle dweller, librarian & teacher.
  4. [removed]
  5. Jose Afonso Furtado @jafurtado Former art library director at Gulbenkian Foundation. Lisboa, Portugal
  6. Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll Librarian Book Blogger Kirkwood, MO
  7. Connie Crosby @conniecrosby Toronto, ON
  8. Buffy J. Hamilton @buffyjhamilton Librarian and teacher; 2011 LJ Mover and Shaker.
  9. James Neal @james3neal MLS from @I_UMD – Librarian Greenbelt, MD – Columbia, SC
  10. Joyce Valenza @joycevalenza Assistant Professor Rutgers University SC&I, teacher-librarian Abington, PA
  11. The Daring Librarian @GwynethJones Teacher Librarian. DC Metro, HoCo, & Balto, hon!
  12. David Lee King @davidleeking Topeka, KS
  13. Stephen Abram @sabram Toronto, ON
  14. Anna M @helgagrace Public library reference librarian. Western MA
  15. Liz Burns @LizB Librarian. Earth
  16. Kelly Jensen @catagator Editor for @BookRiot. Reformed librarian. It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary YA Fiction (Book). Former Texan.
  17. INALJ (Naomi House) @needalibraryjob Library Journal Mover&Shaker 2013 US & International
  18. Ian Clark @ijclark Radical librarian. Canterbury/London
  19. Cecily Walker @skeskali librarian Vancouver, BC
  20. Tom Bruno @oodja Librarian @Yale. Milford, CT
  21. Siva Vaidhyanathan @sivavaid Author of The Googlization of Everything (2011), The Anarchist in the Library (2004), and Copyrights and Copywrongs (2001). Charlottesville, VA
  22. John Dupuis @dupuisj Science & Engineering Librarian, Steacie Science & Engineering Library, York University. Toronto, ON
  23. Meg Gerritsen Knodl @DotMeg Minneapolis, MN
  24. Kate @librarian_kate Norwalk, CT/New York City
  25. Brent Ferguson @webmaster_ref Librarian South Bend, IN
  26. john fink @adr Hamilton, Ontario.
  27. Jenny Luca @jennyluca Director of ICT and eLearning. Australia
  28. Library Girl @jenniferlagarde 2012 LJ Mover & Shaker. ALA/NYT I Love My Librarian Winner.
  29. Sarah Houghton @TheLiB Librarian. San Rafael, CA
  30. jessamyn west @jessamyn Rural librarian geek. vermont
  31. Steven R. Harris @srharris19 Assistant Dean of Libraries, U. Nevada, Reno. Reno NV
  32. Ayla Stein @TheStacksCat Urbana, IL
  33. Ranti Junus @ranti Systems & E-resources Librarian. Lansing, MI, USA
  34. Greg Lambert @glambert Law Librarian (BigLaw) Houston, TX
  35. pcsweeney @pcsweeney USCG Captain of the Story Sailboat San Jose, CA
  36. Rita Meade @ScrewyDecimal Librarian. @BookRiot contributing editor/Dear Book Nerd host. Picture book author (S&S Kids, 2016!) Brooklyn, NY
  37. Phil Bradley @Philbradley A librarian & internet consultant. I teach effective internet search techniques, & use of Web 2.0 technologies. London UK
  38. Kathy Kaldenberg @scsdmedia Peripatetic Librarian. Iowa
  39. Anne Haines @annehaines web content specialist at an academic library
  40. Ned Potter @ned_potter York
  41. Marla Waltman @marlawd Toronto, Canada
  42. Robert Smith @rosmith11 Subject Specialist for Science & Engineering Carleton University Library Ottawa Canada.
  43. Judy O’Connell @heyjudeonline Sydney, Australia
  44. Travis Jonker @100scopenotes Elementary school librarian. Michigan
  45. Marshall Breeding @mbreeding editor of Library Technology Guides, columnist for Computers in Libraries, Editor of Smart Libraries Newsletter Nashville, TN
  46. val forrestal @vforrestal web services librarian, cuny NJ/NY
  47. Kimberly Rues @KimberlyRues Kansas City, MO
  48. Bobbi Newman @bobbinewman Librarian. PhD student Media Studies CU Boulder. MA PoliSci, MA LibSci. Colorado, USA
  49. [removed]
  50. Katy Wrathall @katy_wrathall Librarian UK somewhere
  51. C Foote @technolibrary Educ /librarian, 1:1 iPad campus
  52. Eric Rumsey @EricRumsey Iowa City
  53. Jacob Berg @jacobsberg Library Director.
  54. Annie @catladylib I’m a librarian. 2014 ALA Emerging Leader. Chicago
  55. m3mo @m3mo Anarcho-librarian Boise, ID
  56. Librarianry @LibrarianRy Librarian that is looking to be educated by the masses. Madison, WI
  57. Michael Stephens @mstephens7 LIS educator Traverse City, MI
  58. Declan Fleming @declan IT Director, library techie San Diego, California
  59. Chris Bourg @mchris4duke AUL for Public Services, Stanford University Libraries. Stanford, CA
  60. Justin Hoenke @JustinLibrarian I am a librarian. I believe that our #1 job is to do awesome things for our communities. Chattanooga, TN
  61. Andy @wawoodworth Librarian extraordinaire. New Jersey, USA
  62. J Way @judithway Australian high school teacher librarian. Melbourne
  63. Ellyssa Kroski @ellyssa NYC
  64. Robin Ashford @rashford Associate Librarian, Assistant Professor — Emerging Technologies Portland, Oregon, USA
  65. Mylee Joseph @myleejoseph urban librarian Sydney, Australia
  66. Cyndi @cyndie23 Children’s Librarian. Southern California
  67. pollyalida @pollyalida Librarian. NY
  68. K.G. Schneider @kgs University librarian. Bay Area, California
  69. Nikki D Robertson @NikkiDRobertson EdCampATL CoFounder, School lib turned Inst. Tech Facilitator Huntsville, AL
  70. Pat Wagner @pat2pattern Denver
  71. PrincessOfTheWorld @princessofworld Princess of the World and in my spare time I am also a librarian Henrico, VA
  72. Daniel Messer @bibrarian Phoenix and Queen Creek, AZ
  73. Heather McCormack @HuisceBeatha Collection Development Manager of 3M Cloud Library. Country of Ungentrified Bklyn
  74. Jason Griffey @griffey I write and talk about libraries. Sewanee, TN
  75. Bethany Nowviskie @nowviskie Director, Digital Research & Scholarship, UVa Library; CLIR Distinguished Presidential Fellow; Past Prez, Association for Computers & the Humanities Scholars’ Lab, U of Virginia
  76. Jo Alcock @joeyanne Researcher, librarian. West Midlands, UK
  77. Carol Tilley @AnUncivilPhD Somewhere in the Midwest
  78. Lisa Bunker @mutabilis I’m a Social Media Librarian. Tucson, AZ
  79. greg hardin @ghardin academic librarian. dallas, tx
  80. gretchen caserotti @gcaserotti Balancing libraries, art, children and technology. 1st time Library Director in the land of Famous Potatoes. meridian, id
  81. Margot Note @margotnote Archivist and librarian. Author of Managing Image Collections: A Practical Guide (2011) and Project Management for Information Professionals (2015). New York City
  82. Julia @sparkymonster
  83. Professor Krampus @nnschiller librarian, professor PNW – Portland (ish)
  84. Jenny Levine @shifted Shifting libraries and the American Library Association (MPOW) Chicago, IL, USA
  85. Lauren Smith @walkyouhome LIS PhDer (young people’s relationships with political information, political agency and participation, critical infolit). Public library advocate. The Shire
  86. Shirley Burnham @ShirleyBurnham Swindon, England
  87. Kristen H. @bookgoil I’m an elementary school librarian in the suburbs of Chicago as well as a book blogger and lifetime reader. I read mainly YA & MG books and love graphic novels. IL, USA
  88. Andromeda Yelton @ThatAndromeda LITA, Ada Initiative. Empowering librarians via code. Somerville, MA
  89. Steven M. Cohen @LibraryStuff Law Librarian. NY
  90. Emily Clasper @eclasper Long Island, NY
  91. kate @itsjustkate
  92. Peter Brantley @naypinya Director Digital Library Applications, New York Public Library. New York
  93. Stacy Dillon @mytweendom School Librarian. NYC
  94. Heather Moorefield @actinginthelib Assistant Professor for The School of Library and Information Science at The University of SC. Chair of AASL Best Websites Committee. South Carolina
  95. Colleen Greene @colleengreene Librarian, web developer, content strategist, educator @pollaklibrary. Genealogist, historian, foodie, hiker, quilter. Orange County, CA
  96. Jody Wurl @Jodyth Public librarian with a focus on website ux, teens, filmmaking, and geek culture. Twin Cities
  97. Cathy Potter @cppotter K-5 Librarian, NBCT, book blogger & reviewer, chair of CYBILS Book Apps & Chickadee Award committee, co-host of #MELit Maine
  98. Mx A. Matienzo @anarchivist Brooklyn, NY
  99. Jim Bennett @JSSBennett CLA Chair of Member Communications Standing Committee I Trustee Ottawa Public Library Board | President (2010-12) of Federation of Ontario Public Libraries Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  100. Toby Greenwalt @theanalogdivide Director of Digital Strategy at @CLP_Tweets. Pittsburgh, PA
  101. Laura Solomon @laurasolomon Web developer, librarian Cleveland, Ohio
  102. Ray Maxwell @hsifnihplod New business librarian at Hunter Library, Western Carolina U. Recovering foreign service officer, former naval officer.
  103. Donna R @kebabette Christchurch, New Zealand
  104. Lauren Gilbert @UffishL Librarian. Fiction reviewer for @LibraryJournal & @KirkusReviews. Long Island
  105. Andy Burkhardt @vonburkhardt Assistant Director for Digital Strategy @champlib. Burlington, VT
  106. Sujei =) @sujeilugo librarian/doctoral candidate/film Boston, MA (via Puerto Rico)
  107. Lalitha @librarian_lali Member of YALSA’s 2016 Printz Award Committee. Youth services & community college librarian. San Diego!
  108. Linda Lindsay @mauilibrarian2 teacher-librarian Upcountry Maui
  109. Chris Burris @burriscj Winston-Salem, NC
  110. Missy @geceosan I am a librarian. North Carolina
  111. Linda W Braun @lbraun2000 Yth & Family Learning Manager Seattle Pub Lib, Ed Tech Consultant, educator, teen advocate, librarian, YALSA Past Pres
  112. Jessica Olin @olinj Delaware
  113. kris @librarykris
  114. Ingrid @MagpieLibrarian Rainbow Book List Member! GLBT RT Director-at-Large! This is what a librarian looks like, kids. Brokelyn
  115. lorcan dempsey @lorcanD Working for libraries. Has worked for @dubcilib, @uniofbath, @jisc, @KingsCollegeLon, @oclc, … Columbus, OH
  116. Emily Lloyd @PoesyGalore Creator of 6 Words Minneapolis, Cards Against Librarianship, and Shelf Check. Minneapolis
  117. Aaron Mueller @aaronmueller Teacher-Librarian: Parkland Secondary SD63 Saanich, BC. Instructor:UBC T-L Diploma program Saanich, BC, Canada
  118. Emily J. Hurst @hurstej Medical Librarian. Houston, TX
  119. ostephens @ostephens Librarian – what else is there to say? Leamington Spa
  120. Nancy Sims @CopyrightLibn Copyright Librarian at the U of MN. JD/MLS. Info & personal opinions on copyright, culture, etc. Minneapolis, MN
  121. Kristi Chadwick @booksNyarn Library Advisor. 2014 LJ Mover & Shaker. 2013 LJ Reviewer of the Year. Western MA
  122. Tiffany Whitehead @librarian_tiff Teacher Librarian, LJ Mover & Shaker, ISTE Emerging Leader Baton Rouge, LA
  123. Steve Thomas @stevelibrarian Public librarian. Host of Circulating Ideas, the librarian interview podcast. Gwinnett County, GA
  124. Frank Huysmans @fhuysmans Den Haag, Netherlands
  125. Allison Tran @alli_librarian Youth services librarian. Blog manager for YALSA’s The Hub. Southern California
  126. Lauren Bradley @BibliosaurusRex Judaica Systems Librarian. New York City
  127. Alan Wylie @wylie_alan A Public Library Worker, Library/Anti-Privatisation Campaigner (VFTL, TLC & SUFL) London
  128. Sarah Gallagher @SarahLibrarina Librarian in Dunedin @Otago. Dunedin, New Zealand
  129. Shelley (Diaz) Vale @sdiaz101 SLJ Book Reviews, Senior Editor. Future Librarian. Glendale, NY
  130. Amy Watts @amywatts Athens, GA
  131. Joe Kraus @OAJoe Academic librarian. Littleton, CO
  132. Angie Manfredi @misskubelik New Mexico
  133. Joe Hardenbrook @mrlibrarydude Librarian @ #CarrollU Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA
  134. Courtney Young @librarycourtney 2014-2015 ALA President, academic librarian (info lit, advising, tech, diversity) Pittsburgh
  135. Jeremy Willette @libraryjet Teacher Librarian for over 700 great kids! From Maine, now living internationally. ECIS Library Committee. NBCT.
  136. Bethany @bookrarian Tweets of Bethany Morse; Librarian Louisville, KY
  137. Basso Continuo @bckaemper Lib(e)r(t)arian at Stuttgart University Library Stuttgart, Germany
  138. Micah Vandegrift @micahvandegrift Scholarly Communications Librarian at FSU. Tallahassee, FL
  139. Josh Hanagarne @joshhanagarne Author of The World’s Strongest Librarian. Salt Lake City
  140. Robert H. McDonald @mcdonald Bloomington, IN
  141. Sian @siandart Sian was once locked in the school library for hours. She was probably bitten by a radioactive librarian, but the infection lay dormant… Melbourne
  142. Kirstin Dougan @kmdougan Music & performing arts librarian. Professional tweets at @mpalillinois. Urbana, IL
  143. Daniel Ransom @ThePinakes 2014 ALA Emerging Leader. San Francisco
  144. Erin @LibrarianE13 Teen librarian, public library TN
  145. Jules Shore @7shores Systems Librarian Maryland suburbs of DC
  146. Graeme Oke @GraemeO28 University Science Librarian. Melbourne, Australia
  147. Céline Carty @cjclib Librarian.
  148. Sara Gillis @hfxlibrarian I’m a librarian in Halifax, but you probably guessed that already. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  149. Trevor A. Dawes @tadawes Experienced Librarian and Educator; Associate University Librarian, Washington University @WUSTLLibraries; Past President, @ALA_ACRL St. Louis, MO
  150. Viva @VivaLibrarian Your favorite erotica librarian hanging out in collection development. Adjunct professor on the side. CO
  151. Trevor Owens @tjowens Digital Archivist/Historian at LC Hyattsville, MD

  152. @parody_bit Developer, librarian, wireless engineer, feminist, maker, bird nerd. VA
  153. Rob @Svelteassassin Graduate of U of South Carolina and Pitt SIS. Orange County, CA
  154. Roy Kenagy @RoyKenagy Des Moines
  155. Krista Godfrey @weelibrarian
  156. Laura Leavitt @leavitt9 Business librarian in an academic setting.
  157. Abigail Willemse @ajwillemse91 Electronic Resources Librarian. Hamilton, New Zealand
  158. jaime hammond @trudysmoke Community college library director. Waterbury, Connecticut.
  159. Jill Hurst-Wahl @jill_hw Director of the Library and Info. Science & School Media Programs in Syracuse University’s iSchool. Syracuse, NY
  160. Sophie Brookover @sophiebiblio
  161. Mick Fortune @mickfortune Independent consultant. Library automation, procurement, standards. St Vaury & Oxford
  162. Sarah Barker @sarahgb college librarian, literacy champion & cat whisperer. North Wales, UK
  163. char booth @charbooth librarian encinitas/claremont
  164. Tiffini Travis @mojo_girl librarian
  165. Andy Plemmons @plemmonsa School librarian Athens, GA
  166. Aeon Morays @Sara_Mooney Bryn Mawr, PA
  167. DrWeb @DrWeb2 Librarian known as DrWeb San Diego, CA
  168. Meredith Farkas @librarianmer Librarian, writer, teacher, and mom jumping off the tenure track for the sweet community college life. Portland, OR
  169. Rachel P @archelina Lewes, UK
  170. Carli Spina @CarliSpina Emerging technologies librarian. I blog on tech @ Massachusetts
  171. Lisa Hinchliffe @lisalibrarian Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction/Professor + PhD Student in Global Studies in Ed @ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  172. Leah White @leahlibrarian Librarian. Chicago
  173. 40 Forever @booksnbdays I am a singing librarian. South Florida
  174. Cate Levinson @storytiming the librarian is a growing organism. chicago
  175. Andy Priestner @PriestLib Trainer/consultant on communication, social media, ethnography, and LEGO Serious Play. Also Information & Library Manager at Cambridge Judge Business School. Cambridge
  176. Nate Hill @natenatenate Deputy Director, Chattanooga Public Library. Chattanooga, TN
  177. Henry Mensch @henare Henry Mensch is a @ischoolsu student (graduating may 2015!). librarian, technologist. San Francisco CA USA
  178. Matthew Hamilton @brewinlibrarian Denver, CO
  179. Abby Johnson @abbylibrarian Children’s Manager at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library in Southern Indiana. New Albany, IN
  180. Jonathan Broad @jmbroad Madison, Mostly
  181. Simon Barron @SimonXIX
  182. loidagarciafebo @loidagarciafebo International Librarian. President @InfoNewWave NYC
  183. Abby Barker @abbybarker Felixstowe
  184. Erin Dorney @edorney Writer, VIDA intern, Co-founder of The Triangle, Editor at @libraryleadpipe Lancaster, PA
  185. Kevin Sanders @moananddrone Bath
  186. Jennifer Hrusch @typealibrarian Public Library Manager. Columbus, OH
  187. Dianne McKenzie @dimac4 MYP Teacher Librarian in HK by trade. Hong Kong
  188. Erin M @tad_overdue Indiana
  189. Sally Gore @mandosally Research evaluation analyst, librarian, exercise physiologist, ex-clergy, mandolin picker, dreamer of the ultimate scooter-driven espresso cart / bookmobile. Worcester, MA
  190. Aaron Tay @aarontay I’m a Librarian from the National University of Singapore. Singapore
  191. Alesia McManus @cclibchica Community college librarian. MD
  192. Stella Wisdom @miss_wisdom Curator, Digital Research @britishlibrary Co-founded Off the Map videogame design competition N15, London, UK
  193. Matthew R Dyer @mtthwdyr Columbus, Ohio
  194. Michael Sauers Michael Sauers @msauers Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission Lincoln, NE
  195. Elisabeth M Nylander @nylaelis Texas gal living out her happily ever after in Sweden. MLIS thesis on digital library tools in charter schools. Librarian at Jönköping
  196. Craig Anderson @libraryguy Purple-haired Librarian @ Kean University Library Union, NJ
  197. Ruth Kitchin Tillman @ruthbrarian Metadata Librarian at NASA Goddard (Cadence Group). Gamer. EAD nerd. Creator: DC
  198. Matthew Ciszek @mciszek Librarian-scholar. Hermitage, PA
  199. lauren pressley @laurenpressley Director of Learning Environments for Virginia Tech University Libraries. blacksburg, va
  200. David Parkes @daveparkes University Librarian& ICT Assoc Director, National Teaching Fellow, Staffordshire


Did I miss someone? Leave a comment!

20 Questions Product Managers Should Ask about Mobile App Testing

I’ve worked as a product manager on several different types of mobile apps: Android, HTML5, iOS, phone, tablet…but always B2B. Building a new mobile app is a great experience. During testing, changes can be made very quickly to overcome weaknesses of the app.

The most challenging part of building mobile apps is building to the devices. Devices have limitations. Not everyone buys a new, high-priced phone or tablet every two years. Therefore, both the test plan and the project plan for a mobile app are dramatically different from a browser-based version of the same workflow. Product managers need to know the different scenarios in which the user runs the app, and they need to convey that information to the team. Below are some good questions to ask the team:

1. What are some ways we are testing security?

2. How are we testing with different screen sizes?

3. How are we testing the install and uninstall events?

4. Which carriers are we testing with?

5. Are we testing with no storage space available on the device?

6. Are we testing with low battery?

7. Are we testing with “dirty” devices (OS not upgraded, apps not upgraded, generally neglected)?

8. Are we testing with low-priced devices?

9. Are we testing with incoming calls?

10. Are we testing with the devices in different positions, alternating between portrait and landscape?

11. Are we testing with screen covers?

12. Are we testing with different pixel densities?

13. Are we testing using public Wi-Fi, maybe at Starbucks?

14. Are we testing with different screen brightness settings?

15. Are we testing whether we can walk and use the app?

16. Are we testing whether we can use just a thumb to use the app?

17. Are we testing with headphones plugged in to the device?

18. Have we looked at for automated testing?

19. Have we looked at for automated testing?

20. Why will people not like using this app?


I hope you enjoyed the post. Leave a comment on other questions to ask. For more activities for product management, read the Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.

Horizon Scanning and Product Management

Horizon scanning is a technique for detecting early signs of potentially important developments through a systematic examination of potential threats and opportunities. Product managers can use horizon scanning to analyze what features would mean the most given several different possible futures for the organization.


Using horizon scanning for competitive strategy. Let’s say that I have a successful mobile product, and I’m creating a 3-year plan for it. The biggest driver for what I do is how competitor x performs in the market. Also, there is a patent lawsuit against competitor x that has a lot of focus from the executive team in my organization. I identify 5 futures that may happen, and 7 features that I want to consider. Then, on the second row, I assess the likelihood of each of the 5 futures (1-3). Next, on the third row and below, I plug in values of 1-3 for each feature, and my spreadsheet multiplies the value by the likelihood of the future. The column on the far right is a simple sum of the other columns.

What I find through the above example is that competitor x’s performance is more important than the outcome of the lawsuit, and I get a really good analysis from the face recognition feature across all 5 futures. Click here for the Excel version of the spreadsheet above, and feel free to use it as a template.


Using horizon scanning for proposed laws or industry standards. Horizon scanning is really useful when you’re doing an analysis of an industry that has different laws or standards that are coming in the next few years. Examples: when Canada added a new email spam law or when Europe added a new cookie law. In most countries, you won’t know for sure whether the law will become official on the date proposed, so you need to analyze several futures. Futures to consider with proposed laws:

  • Law implemented on time
  • Law implemented later than expected
  • Law struck down in court
  • Clause x added to law
  • Law canceled by government agency
  • Another country adopts similar law


I hope you enjoyed the post. Leave a comment on ways you’ve used this technique, and how it helped. For more activities for product management, read the Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.

Identify Product Weaknesses by Writing Your Product’s Obituary

Here is a really simple, but morbid, group exercise for a product management team: write your product’s obituary. Being a proactive product manager means planning the demise of your product before it happens. Sometimes you’ve got a plan for end of life…sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you want to delay the end of life, and sometimes you want to accelerate it. Try these 8 questions for a quick group exercise.

  1. How will customers remember your product?
  2. What is the cause of your product’s demise?
  3. Is the demise of your product expected or unexpected?
  4. What is the date of your product’s demise?
  5. How are other products in the portfolio affected by your product’s demise?
  6. Now that your product is gone, what will take its place?
  7. Who is handing out their business cards to your customers at your product’s wake?
  8. What 3 things could you have done to delay your product’s demise?

Share and compare your answers with others, and discuss.

For more activities for product management, read the Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.


Inspired by:

Sherman, E. (2013, December 11). For Your Year-End To-Do List: Write Your Company’s Obituary Now. In Retrieved April 14, 2014, from

Yohn, D. L. (2014, January 28). Write Your Brand’s Obituary. In Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 14, 2014, from

Making Interdepartmental Communication Work with a Difficult Department

As a software product manager, I’ve worked in both welcoming and hostile environments for interdepartmental communication. The bad environments often have silos. Silos can promote misunderstanding, finger-pointing, personal conflict, and stereotyping. Trying just 3-5 of the following practices can turn inadequate, unfriendly interdepartmental communication into enjoyable, healthy interdepartmental communication.


Work for your organization; not your department. As much as you can, be the best value to your organization. That means breaking down unnecessary interdepartmental silos and establishing a cooperative environment.

If it’s especially hard to get together, start putting it on a calendar that you need to talk to them. Silos are enabled by physical separation and long periods of non-communication. Get past the silo-causing activities.

Avoid blaming others; it’s an easy tactic to use to come off as the one person who knows what she is doing, but it is often bad for your organization’s health. There are people who make careers out of pointing the finger at other departments, but those people often increase conflict within the organization. Don’t be the one who makes an entire department hate you.

If you perceive someone is a bully or a manipulator, avoid a confrontation as long as you can. Bullies are terrible for an organization, but don’t confront a bully unless you know you’re likely to win. It gets messy fast, and unfortunately, sometimes the bully wins. Organizations often have no idea what to do about their bullies.

Avoid using tough love on another department. Don’t say, “It’s the only way they learn.” I always avoid having a “sink or swim” kind of scenario for anyone I work with, because what happens if they sink?

Your department is not smarter or better than any another department. I’ve worked with people who have the idea of “don’t talk to the bozos on the third floor.” It’s hard to believe how common that mindset is. Even if a department has limitations or negative traits, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of coming up with an idea that helps your organization succeed.

Talk to other departments in their preferred method of communication. I have worked with several people who avoided email communication at all costs. Email threads can spin out of control quickly with interdepartmental communication, but you’re still going to need to put things in writing sometimes. Likewise, talking to people verbally also has its limitations, but you’re going to need to have meetings sometimes.

Don’t dwell on the negative traits of another department. When you dwell on the negatives, you start to talk about that department’s weaknesses with others. Then that perceived inadequacy starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If someone in another department takes initiative in doing something in your job description, praise them for it; don’t treat it as a threat. While it’s totally understandable to feel threatened in this sort of circumstance, an awesome person rises above that feeling and supports the effort of that person.

Promote a two-way street of information sharing. Don’t just have those kinds of interdepartmental meetings where it’s a monologue. Plan to listen and have a discussion. If there are too many participants for a dialog, figure out how to promote dialog in another effort.

Don’t just tell people what they want to hear; tell them what is going to happen. I’ve worked with people who only said “yes” or “that’s a great idea” to other departments. When deadlines were missed or roadmaps didn’t include the request, it led to them feeling like they’d been duped. Tell the other department the real plan, and you’ll promote openness and trust.


Do you have other tips or examples of interdepartmental communication working? Leave a comment!