One of the oldest adages related to product management is:

“All of the responsibility and none of the authority.”

I remember the first time I heard it. I was commiserating with a fellow Product Manager, Alex*, after a tough meeting with executives. It was my first Product Management role. And at that moment, I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment. There was no doubting it.

If I recall correctly, we had both been through a bit of a gantlet about our product plans and had to go back, review them with our teams and present back to the exec team in a week, probably to face a similar drubbing. We felt like “Gap Filler” (another metaphor I’ve heard used by product managers). i.e. …


I had the pleasure to speak with Cyrus Eslamian of Product Manager Hub recently. We spent the time talking about the challenges companies face in product discovery and how they can overcome them.

The following article is NOT a verbatim transcript of the podcast — which you can listen to at the link below:

— but is a parallel article on the same topic, covering similar questions, but with additional perspectives and examples.

Enjoy.

PMHub: What is Product Discovery and why does it matter?

Product Discovery is a broad topic related to customer, user, market and product research.

It’s about understanding market, customer and user problems, and identifying opportunities so that you can define, develop, deliver, market, sell and operate products that completely meet those market and customer needs. …


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I came across a VERY old blog post of mine recently. It’s from July 2010.

I had asked people what they liked, disliked and wanted to see changed in their Product Management roles

I got a lot of responses. I analyzed them, categorized them and shared the results back to my readers.

As I read through the feedback, I noticed that I could still see many of the responses being true today. So I thought, let me test that hypothesis.

So, I’m asking you to fill in the survey below.

>>>> Click here to fill out the survey <<<<

It’s only a few questions and will take 5 minutes. …


I published some preliminary results from my Release Planning Survey a couple of weeks ago. I’m still collecting data, so if you’re reading this, please click the link below and fill out the survey.

==>bit.ly/ReleasePlanningSurvey <==

The survey only takes 5 minutes (or less) to complete — so please help out. I’ll publish the full detailed analysis here on Medium in the future, once I get a sufficient set of data.

In this article, I’ll share:

  1. The data related to prioritization from the survey thus far.
  2. Thoughts on how to resolve the problems with prioritization and the issues surrounding it that companies face. …


I’m doing research on how companies plan their product releases.

And just to be clear, when I say release, I’m talking about the software they’re going to ship. i.e. it’s not the launch (more marketing-centric process), but the work that goes on BEFORE they commit to build significant new capabilities.

Please add your input

I’m still looking for input so please add your voice to the data if you haven’t done so already.

The link is here. Thanks in advance for your input.

bit.ly/ReleasePlanningSurvey

The survey only takes 5 minutes (or less) to complete — so please help out. I’ll publish the detailed results here on Medium in the future, once I get a sufficient set of results. …


I’ve been meaning to finish and publish this post for a few weeks, but what should have been a straightforward writing task became a casualty of the shutdown.

The shutdown happened suddenly. One week, I co-hosted a workshop here in Toronto with 20+ attendees from Canada and the US, held my monthly meetup downtown, spent time with clients at their offices, and 7 days later, my family and I, and everyone else, were under provincial emergency orders to stay at home, isolate from others etc.

I quickly saw the stress and impact it was taking on people I interacted with. …


NOTE: This was originally posted at https://www.transformationlabs.io/blog.

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When I work with companies, one of the questions I often ask the Product teams is:

Of all the product-related processes you participate in, which one works the best?

The two most common answers are:

  1. “Process? We don’t have process. We just get sh*t done.”
  2. “The Agile process with Engineering.”

Now both of these are rather troubling answers to be honest.

The “We don’t have process” answer is obviously problematic. Some people are just anti-process; process is something to be avoided in their minds. “No process” only works in small companies where there is strong and constant communication and a high-level of trust amongst staff or team members. Things break down very quickly and painfully if either of those (communication or trust) are missing. …


Road sign saying “Greatness Just Ahead”
Road sign saying “Greatness Just Ahead”

I originally wrote the following back in the summer of 2007 (Yes 2007. That’s not a typo). I had just started blogging a few months earlier. It was one of the first blog posts I wrote that got a lot visibility.

This post was originally written in six parts, but I think it flows well as a single longer blog post. The advice and observations have aged fairly well, and still offer useful insights. So here it is, with a few minor edits compared to the original. 2007 was 12 years ago. How long ago was that? Slack, Uber & AirBnB had not even been founded. Twitter was barely a year old and Facebook had about 40 million users. Yes. it was that long ago. …


Full disclosure: I was inspired to write this post by this article. The author even listed one of my own Venn diagrams in his list!! :-) Now on with the show.

As a Product Manager, they tell you that:

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https://www.mindtheproduct.com/2011/10/what-exactly-is-a-product-manager/

You may WANT to be there…But in reality, in most cases:


[Note: This is a follow-up to an earlier article that proposed the Venn diagram described in this article]

I’ve been in software product management for over 20 years. When I started, I had to explain what I did to my family and friends. They were curious as they’d never heard of the job before.

I explained it this way:

I don’t develop, market or sell the product, but I am responsible for ensuring what we build is the right product and how we market and sell it is done as well as possible.”

OK, so you’re the boss then?” …

About

Saeed Khan

Product Consultant. Contact me for help building in great products and great product organizations. http://www.transformationlabs.io

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