A local teardown, from Will Boulton.
In Summary: There are 3 routes into Product Management in London: join a start-up, a digital transformation programme or a product-centric company.
Product Managers who join start-ups have often been wowed by the concept, the size of the addressable market or a charismatic founder. But be warned: founders often struggle to relinquish responsibility for the product to the new PM, suffocating best practice in the process.
Joining a large company gives you the opportunity to reach a large number of users. But PMs need to ask themselves, will I be shipping product as quickly as I’d like? And how frustrating will this be?
Often companies claim to want change but fail to empower their digital sponsor. The result? A half-hearted programme which fails to address key issues.
Some of the best PM opportunities are with big US tech companies: Facebook, Google and Amazon are all big employers in London. But beware: in some cases you can end up as little more than a glorified localisation manager.
It's the nature of technology that every product dies. So how can we stay alive? asks Intercom's Des Traynor.
In Summary: Once there was a product called SMS. It was a phenomenal technology and became the only way telcos made money. Then 30 engineers built WhatsApp. Within two years they obliterated growth in the most profitable part of telcos.
The question Product Managers have to consistently ask is: does this new technology make it cheaper, faster or easier for our customers to make progress in their lives? If it does, that's where they'll go while you're busy writing JIRA tickets.
The way to stay relevant is to focus on what's called the 'OODA loop'. Can you Observe, can you Orient, can you Decide, and can you Act? If your OODA loop is fast enough that you can keep up with the industry, you'll always be in a great position.
Twitter's Ameet Ranadive revisits a timeless classic.
In Summary: Andy Grove’s book, High Output Management, is a timeless business book with many important insights and lessons. In this post, Ameet takes a few of his lessons and interprets through a Product Management lens.
One of Andy’s key principles is, “The output of a manager is the output of the organisational units under his or her supervision.” So what can Product Managers do to increase their team’s output, and therefore their own output?
It’s important to select the right output metric to measure business value. How much will the product improve the desired output metric? You can then prioritise a number of potential product ideas by output and effort/risk.
Finally, focus on fewer high leverage features, rather than building a mix of high and low leverage features. Push yourself to think big — don’t accept medium or low output products. As Larry Page often says, “Think 10x.”
I was fortunate to hear Ash Maurya speak last week in (of all places) Croydon; the UK's answer to Detroit. If he was wondering what the hell he was doing there, he hid it well.
Ash was talking about his new book Scaling Lean and gave everyone 2 copies for good measure.
In Summary: Most products fail. Not because we fail to build out our solution, but because we fail to solve a 'big enough' customer problem. When we first get an idea for a product, we should focus on finding evidence of a monetisable problem, not on acquiring resources to build out the solution.
The best way to prioritise your customer feature requests is by first understanding the root problem that triggered the request in the first place. Where were they? What were they trying to do? Why?
Starting with a solution is like building a key without knowing what door it will open. You can try testing your key on lots of doors or you can start with a door you want to open. When you fall in love with the problem, you start building keys to the right doors.
Power hacks from Sathish Chander.
In Summary: Machiavelli has become a byword for immorality, cunningness and cynicism. However, Sathish believes Product Managers can learn from his words without sacrificing their integrity.
"All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively."
A PM's job is not just figuring out the 'How' of product implementation then passing it on to the team. They must figure out the 'Why' first by weighing the business impact of requested features/changes.
"Fortune is the arbiter of half the things we do."
Some things are out of our control, but we can influence fortune by careful action. One way to get luckier is to re-evaluate legacy features developed in the past. Removing/altering those features might bring in results.
"One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others."
Always introduce new features as experiments that can be rolled back if results are disappointing. This de-risks impact in people's minds and usually leads to permanent change.