Tag Archives: product management

How Product Management Varies in Different Regions

On August 15th and 16th, Brandon Luong hosted a Twitter chat event on how product management varies across different regions and cities. Since I work in Salt Lake City, Brandon works in New York City, and many of the folks discussing product management (like mutual friend Alicia Dixon) live elsewhere, we decided to write some questions about how our locales differed. We had about 15 product management professionals offer their thoughts on the use of product management in their region.

Check out the summary over on Medium, where the entire chat series is also accessible.

Product Management and Third-Party Integrations

I wrote a piece on product management for third-party integrations. Most product managers will at some point be tasked with a third-party integration; sometimes by choice and sometimes not. For this reason, I decided to talk to product managers with the most third-party software integration experience and set out to discover their best practices, both strategic and tactical.

Check out the post here at Mind the Product: http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2017/04/third-party-integrations.

My Talk on Software Product Pricing on the DYT Podcast

I was honored to be on Karthik Vijayakumar‘s Design Your Thinking podcast. I based my talk on a post I did a couple years ago: 13 Questions to Ask about the Pricing of Your Software Product. I’ve never done anything like a podcast before, so I encourage you to check it out:

Karthik is doing one of the best interview series in product management. Please check out some of my favorite episodes that came before me in the series:

Top Product Management and UX Articles of 2016

These were my favorite product management and UX articles of 2016. Hope you enjoy!

Product Management

  1. How To Build A Product Roadmap Everyone Understands by @dreasaez

    Read it on Medium

  2. 13 tips for product leaders on distributed teams by @hpalan

    Read it on Medium

  3. 10 Onboarding Lessons from Product Experts by @_pulkitagrawal

    Read it at https://chmln.co/2bAaLq3

  4. A Bad Product Decision by @BrandonMChu

    Read it on Medium

  5. How To Be A Better SaaS Product Manager: 11 Tips From Top SaaS PMs by @authorkate

    Read it at https://www.chargify.com/blog/11-tips-how-to-be-a-better-saas-product-manager

  6. 5 signs your product and UX teams are disconnected by @jimsemick

    Read it at http://blog.invisionapp.com/product-ux-team-collaboration

  7. Finding the Truth Behind MVPs by @lissijean

    Read it at http://melissaperri.com/2016/05/05/finding-the-truth-behind-mvps

  8. Five Steps to Launching a Product in a Hostile Market by @gordontredgold

    Read it at http://www.inc.com/gordon-tredgold/five-steps-to-launching-a-product-in-a-hostile-market.html

  9. Product Managers, Stop Worrying about Building the Wrong Thing on Schedule: A Q&A with Laura Klein by @LisaAbbott

    Read it at http://blog.wootric.com/product-managers-stop-worrying-about-building-the-wrong-thing-on-schedule-a-qa-with-laura-klein

  10. Self Mastery for Product Managers by @johnpeltier

    Read it at http://johnpeltier.com/blog/2016/04/03/self-mastery

UX

  1. It’s 2016 already, how are websites still screwing up these user experiences?! by @troyhunt

    Read it at https://www.troyhunt.com/its-2016-already-how-are-websites-still

  2. Explaining UX with a glass of lemonade by @axbom

    Read it on Medium

  3. Reducing Cognitive Overload For A Better User Experience by @halarewich

    Read it at https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/09/reducing-cognitive-overload-for-a-better-user-experience

  4. Designing A Dementia-Friendly Website by @DementiaTweets

    Read it at https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/05/designing-a-dementia-friendly-website

  5. Meaningfully Judging Performance in Terms of User Experience by @schoeyfield

    Read it at http://libux.co/meaningfully-judging-performance-terms-user-experience

  6. Accessibility Whack-A-Mole by @scuff_el

    Read it at http://alistapart.com/article/accessibility-whack-a-mole

  7. Erika Hall on evidence-based design and looking beyond data by @JuliaSagar

    Read it at http://www.creativebloq.com/features/erika-hall-on-evidence-based-design-and-looking-beyond-data

  8. Managing Interruptions = Better Digital Product Design by @DrAnnaLCox

    Read it at http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2016/03/managing-interruptions-better-digital-product-design

  9. How Our Product Design Team Conducts Usability Tests Every 2 Weeks by @leemunroe

    Read it on Medium

  10. Buttons in UI Design: The Evolution of Style and Best Practices by @101babich

    Read it on Medium

What did I forget to list? Please leave a comment and let me know!

This post also appears on Medium.

Does a Phase 1/Phase 2 Approach Ever Actually Work?

Alicia Dixon and I interviewed 7 of our favorite product management colleagues on best practices with a phase 1/phase 2 approach. By that, we mean a scenario where a product has features A, B, and C in 2017 and adds features D, E, and F in 2018. How do you avoid getting in over your head? How do you convey this plan in a roadmap?

A special thank you to Nandini Jammi, who helped make the post stylish and clear.

Check out the post here at ProdPad: https://www.prodpad.com/blog/phased-rollout-strategy.

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_Dhttp://bit.ly/23qq2dN

Pt. 2: App User Engagement: Expert Advice from @AndreAtDell & @rcauvinhttp://bit.ly/1Wa8kfN

Pt. 3: App User Engagement: Expert Advice from @SchulteElena, @delizalde, & @Paul_Yokotahttp://bit.ly/1Tuaikp

Full e-book: App User Engagement: Advice from 8 Experts – http://bit.ly/1W8PXHy


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!

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 https://appthwack.com for automated testing?

19. Have we looked at http://www.perfectomobile.com 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.