This is a seemingly never-ending issue I see. I don’t know when I first came across it, but it still seems to inflict pain in companies and reduce the impact of Product Management in driving product success.

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Is it just a strange coincidence of the English language that the words project, program and product all sound similar, AND are also so often conflated when it comes to the world of Product Management?

We have Project Managers, Program Managers and Product Managers. And despite the similar sounding names and some amount of crossover in activities, in reality, they are VERY distinct roles with different focus and responsibilities.

But often companies don’t see or understand the distinction, or the skills required to do each of the jobs well and end up conflating them or blending them in ways that…

Scrabble holding with tiles spelling Value.
Scrabble holding with tiles spelling Value.

The word “value” is thrown around a lot in product circles.

People talk about business value, customer value, and product value.

You can have value chains, value streams and value curves.

You can define value propositions, value maps and value-based pricing.

And people love to say that they are creating value, capturing value, and delivering value.

But if you ask people to drill down and define value in more detail, there’s often a lot of humming and hawing, and plenty of “it depends” and “you know it when you see it” statements.

If you read the Scrum Guide, for example…

A favourite topic of many entrepreneurs, product managers, marketers and executives is strategy. You hear it all the time. People talking about company strategy, product strategy, marketing strategy, sales strategy etc.

The interesting thing about strategy is that while everyone talks about it, many people have a difficult time explaining it.

If you look in the dictionary, you’ll see something like this:

Strategy n. a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result

OK…that’s not really helpful is it?

From a business perspective, the most common description of strategy seems to be tied…

A followup to my recent article Product Discovery

Two weeks ago, I published this article on Addressing The Challenges of Product Discovery. I received a lot of feedback from people about it and also received a number of questions about discovery. So I decided to answer them here as they are very relevant to the topic.

Q1: How much time should be spent on understanding buyers vs. users?

Q2: How much time should be spent on discovery?

These two questions are related and have similar answers so I’ve grouped them together.

The short answer for both questions is: as much time as necessary.

Yes, I know that’s not a great answer, but it’s really the only correct answer. As I mentioned in the original article, discovery is not a…

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…

NOTE: This is the first of a 2 part blog post. The second part can be found here.

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.

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NOTE: After reading this article you can read the…

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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 <<<<


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.

==> <==

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…

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.

The survey only takes 5 minutes (or less) to complete — so please help out. I’ll publish the detailed 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…

Saeed Khan

Product Consultant. Contact me for help building in great products and great product organizations.

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