Happy 2018! It’s been a few months but I’m back with some big news for 2018, including a (long-overdue) site redesign that, among other things, should look much better on mobile devices. I’m still tweaking some things, so bear with me. In the meantime, I’ve been busy blogging…
Helping Product Managers Triumph in an Agile World: The SiriusDecisions Agile Engine for Product Management
Many product management leaders in organizations that use agile as a product development process express that they’re challenged to get their people to not just act as product owners in an agile/scrum sense, but as product managers who are responsible for the overall commercial success of the product. On an almost daily basis, I’m talking to product management leaders who find that agile is causing their product managers to focus too much on short-term tactical activities that are isolated from the broader product strategy and lifecycle. This isn’t a failure of agile but it is due to the lack of a structured way of getting product managers to connect what’s happening at the sprint level to releases and product strategy. In this post on the SiriusDecisions blog — Helping Product Managers Triumph in an Agile World: The SiriusDecisions Agile Engine for Product Management — I explain more about how product teams can overcome these challenges and unveil our new framework that describes how product management’s strategic and lifecycle management responsibilities need to adapt and mesh with an agile product development approach.
Help! Sales Is Trying to Change My Product Roadmap!
Another topic that we’re hearing about regularly in our work with b-to-b product teams is the challenges of making progress on a strategic roadmap when salespeople are always “requesting” features or capabilities that threaten to derail your roadmap. In my post on the SiriusDecisions blog Help! Sales Is Trying to Change My Product Roadmap!, I offer some advice on how to shift your thinking (hint: It’s not your roadmap) and offer four specific tips to improve your innovation and product management processes to better leverage customer and sales feedback.
Spring is always a big season for events, and this is shaping up to be another busy one. There are a number of things on my calendar, but here’s a select few where you will be able to find me in person:
- SiriusDecisions Summit Canada: Thursday, March 1: I’m excited to be part of our first-ever Canadian Summit, being held at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. We’ve got a great lineup of presenters — both SiriusDecisions analysts and client guest keynotes. I’ll be presenting with my colleague Monica Behncke on The Audience-Centric Imperative: What Marketing and Product Leaders Must Do to Make the Critical Transformation to Audience-Centric Go-to-Market Models. You can get some other perspectives from our analyst presenters or just go ahead and get your tickets today!
- ProductCamp St. Louis: March 3: I’m helping to organize our 7th annual ProductCamp in the Gateway City. Last year we had over 400 registrants for a fantastic (and free!) day of learning and sharing among product people of all kinds.
- SiriusDecisions Summit: May 8-10: We’ll be back in Las Vegas this year for the biggest SiriusDecisions event, bringing more than 3,200 sales, marketing and product leaders together for three full days of data-driven best practices research, unveiling of new innovations across the b-to-b space and networking with an elite community of sales, marketing and product leaders. This year we’ll have a dedicated Product Management Track, featuring presentations on implementing value-based pricing, moving “beyond” agile, and product management infrastructure (a.k.a. tools and technologies for product management). Early bird pricing is good through February 28, so register now to secure a great deal!
What’s Hot on Twitter
Here are a few of my recent tweets that have generated the most interest recently; to get these in real-time, join the 8600+ others who follow me at @jefflash:
A product manager who doesn’t regularly spend time with customers is like a teacher who doesn’t regularly spend time with students.
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) October 10, 2017
Product roadmaps are still required in agile.
When you're agile, you may adjust aspects like
– the level of detail/fidelity in your roadmap
– time horizon
– frequency of updating
But anyone who says #prodmgmt shouldn't have a roadmap when using agile is just plain wrong.
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) November 16, 2017
I've been thinking about Design Thinking.
Should it just be called "Thinking"? The qualities of design thinking are how many children think naturally: observe, ideate, test, etc.
At some point, however, business/linear thinking becomes default, & "design thinking" is novel.
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) November 30, 2017
Dilbert on business cases: If reliable financial projections require ability to see into the future, but no one can see into the future, why do we ask for them? https://t.co/X3jeqBM75L #prodmgmt pic.twitter.com/uaHd3XfZh2
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) November 13, 2017
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) November 8, 2017
Without a product strategy and roadmap, #prodmgmt is just committing random acts of enhancements.
(Even in agile.)
(*Especially* in agile.)
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) December 21, 2017
What It Takes to Become a Great Product Manager; nice to see #prodmgmt featured in @harvardbiz but the importance of product managers understanding customer needs / market opportunities seems to get downplayed/lost in here https://t.co/Cwa8UqqWYW
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) December 15, 2017
Launching a Minimum Viable Product without a plan to learn post-launch is like planning for the birth of the baby with no thought at all for how you're going to take care of it once it's born.
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) December 4, 2017
There's a lot of talk how #prodmgmt needs to learn to say NO (to features that only benefit 1 customer, ideas that don't address customer needs, etc.); but also, executive teams need to learn to say NO to (some) new products, business cases, investment ideas that don't make sense
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) January 10, 2018
Processes are important. They give people guidelines, consistency on what to do & how.
But the best process in the world doesn't matter if people don't follow it.
Don't think only about the process/steps; think about HOW you will get people to adopt and operationalize it.
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) January 18, 2018
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) January 26, 2018
And I know it’s well past the Holiday season, but in case you missed it…
My neighbor 2 doors down puts on an amazing Christmas light display every year. I decided to join in the festivities this year too. Guess which is his house and guess which is mine. pic.twitter.com/V6qy9zEVPf
— Jeff Lash (@jefflash) December 1, 2017