Product Teams and rock bands are both trying to create something new, build an audience and sell their product, says TaskRabbit's John Vars.
In Summary: Being a Product Manager seems worlds apart from being a guitarist in a rock band. But, on closer inspection, there are striking similarities. A veteran of a number of bands, John shares his top rock tips for Product Managers.
The best way to become a great live band is to play a lot of gigs. It doesn't really matter who's in the in audience. So it goes in Product Management. Too often we wait too long to ship because we want something to be perfect. But being iterative and thinking of each release as a way to learn and incorporate feedback is the best way to go. Ship often. Play lots of gigs.
In a band, it's usual for the songwriter to be the only one who actually knows what the song is about. Drummers often have no clue, so invent their own lyrics. When Product Managers fail to explain the context of a new feature, engineers won't understand why they are doing it. Good Product Managers take time to provide this detail.
Many bands get exploited because they don’t understand the music business. All artists need to grasp the basics and have a network of professionals around them. As a Product Manager, you may have the most amazing product, but if you don’t understand how that fits into the greater business strategy you're at a huge disadvantage.
Part 13 of MAA1's Product Management toolkit.
In Summary: Enthusiastically endorsing Marty Cagan's concept of 'Dual Track Agile', MAA1 strongly believes that ‘continuous discovery’ helps mitigate the risk of an unsuccessful release by giving Product Managers customer feedback 'early and often.'
Instead of doing 'big research' at the start and end of each product development cycle, a Dual Track approach means you’re constantly discovering and validating customer needs.
Running in parallel with development sprints, each discovery cycle should provide a tested set of customer needs, user stories and/or wireframes which can be converted into working software the following sprint.
What's the difference? asks Roman Pichler.
In Summary: The product roadmap is a high-level plan that sketches out the major stages of a road trip, including overnight stops. The release plan then states how each stage is likely to unfold.
A release plan is an 'Agile Project Plan' that forecasts how a major release should be developed. It usually covers no more than the next 3 to 6 months.
A product roadmap, on the other hand, communicates how a product will evolve across several major releases. It describes the journey you want to take your product on over a 12-18 month horizon.
Roman believes the release plan should be derived from the roadmap with help from the product backlog.