What’s the State of Agile in 2012? – the trends, the successes, lessons learned – and 4,048 software professionals responded. > Get your copy now
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Broadband companies today are complex. Delivering digital media, entertainment, communications, and network connectivity for both residential and businesses is extremely challenging. Dynamic market conditions and technology shifts require major decisions with massive financial ramifications. Companies that struggle with decision-making typically find themselves struggling to find the path to economic growth. Factoring in the benefits, risk, priorities, and timing for your business is not a trivial task. It is clear to see why so many businesses are resistant to change. To move beyond this paradigm many businesses are augmenting traditional research methodologies with Big Data.
Big Data strategies are expensive and complex. Measuring everything is not the answer. Use your analytics, data mining and business intelligence dollars wisely. Focus on areas that provide you rapid time to insight that help in decision-making, or in areas where insights are actionable through automated workflows. Make certain you have a prioritized strategy and solid requirements before choosing a solution?
To be successful at fishing or sales, one must first respect the art of the game. This starts by understanding the predator pray relationship. There is quite a difference between going to a body of water with a fishing rod, soaking your bait all day, and consistently catching fish.
Knowing your craft for sales means understanding customer environments, competitive, regulatory and general problems customers must solve. Listen to an investor conference call, look at customer financials, spend some time on emerging opportunities, trying being a partner, not a distributor. Above all respect your craft, do your homework and do not just show up with a PowerPoint and offer to buy lunch. This is not the relationship your customers are seeking.
Try not to use a shotgun approach to power fishing when trying to cover lots of ground. Good fishermen know when fish are shallow or deep. They know when to start out using a top-water tactic, and when to switch up to a finesse approach or go back to trolling a pattern. If your sales methodology is sending out lots of LinkedIn connection request or emails, then consider telemarketing with a script in front of you, not a sales representative.
Understand potential feeding patterns (budget cycles), local baits (front lobe issues), and seasonal patterns (financial reporting cycles) is imperative to closing deals or catching fish. Timing and motivations are two critical elements in both fishing and sales. Good fishermen and sales executive understand patterns, and use them to their advantage. Knowing the right person to call is half the battle. Take time to understand the motivations of your customers wants versus needs will put a good sales executive in a winning position.
If I have one fault, I would have to say it is my propensity to swing for the fences. In product speak this means focusing on transformational not just incremental change. Hitting the front lobe issues of the day, changing behaviors or traditional market dynamics while hitting that critical window of opportunity keeps a giant smile on my face.
Do not get me wrong incremental change is essential but, hitting singles, doubles or triples with a agile software development team maybe just as valuable. Alternatively remember if your product idea is too large this may leave your project stranded on base.
The point here is don’t be afraid to take a swing for the fences, but be smart enough to know when to take a walk or a lay down bunt. Know your idea is technically feasible with the resources at hand and your go to market strategy is commercially reasonable
I have always believed there are typically two types of managers; those that manage up, focused on their careers and those that mentor down, focused on results. Find out what type of manager you are and how to become more efficient and effective.
A couple of other interesting related management articles on the topic.
Product manager roles rolls vary based on the company size but typically focus on the 7 P’s (People, Product, Packaging, Pricing, Placement, Promotion, Positioning).
The short answer, ask the right “what if” questions to the right people to solve meaningful problems for customers in creative ways.
- Deliver on Business Objectives
- Own Product Life-cycle
- Evaluate COGS
- Promote Innovation
- Build Channels
- Manage Risk
- Create Markets
Good product strategists are always two steps ahead of everyone else, answering critical questions before asked.
- What are the front lobe issues of customers or users?
- What new products should we develop?
- What existing products should we discontinue?
- How long will it take for a sales cycle?
- Is the a market or financial window we need to hit?
- Do we need to diversify the revenue mix?
- Do we have under used assets we could leverage?
- Do we have a sustainable value prop?
- Should we product bundle or package differently?
- What pricing strategy should we use?
- Do we have the resources to deliver?
- Do we need to generate demand?
- Budgeting, Forecast
- Requirements & Use Cases
- Competitive Analysis
- Market or Technology Expert
- Segmentation Research
- Prototypes & Pilots
- Feature Backlog
- Product Launch
- Cross-functional Team Leader
Daily duties of a product owner focus on the 4D’s (Definition, Design, Development and Delivery).
- Establishing goals for your team
- Aligning them with corporate business objectives
- Developing product specific road-maps
- Working cross-functionally to deliver the product or prototype
- Conducting market research
- Technology assessments and competitive analysis
- Developing business cases
- Pricing strategies
- Build/buy/partner development or manufacturing
- Iterative design UI/UX and A/B or multivariate testing
- Develop product positioning
- Conducting webinars, and press briefings
- Speaking at industry events
- Analyzing performance, win/loss and conversion metrics
A few basic rules have served me well as a product manager.
- Listen twice as much as you speak
- Learn about who you are building product for, not what to build
- Have genuine empathy for users and customers
- Never get caught in features race with competitors
- Eat your own dog food but never forget you are not the customer
- Pay attention to details they really count
You might also enjoy 280 group’s Product Manager Manifesto
1. If you are leaning you are cleaning: Working in the restaurant business one quickly realizes there is no such thing as down time. Good restauranteurs are always preparing for the next rush and learning to become extremely efficient at everything, including leaning.
2. Staying out of the weeds: To stay out of the weeds train your brain to think six steps ahead and triage what task will take the longest time or maybe the hardest to complete. This is extremely challenging. I have witnessed wheel men work 40 orders at a time barking “Next Out” while keeping 6 to 8 chefs humping and bumping in sequence. Knowing the personal tendencies of each chef, the tendencies of the wait staff and factoring them all in to keep out of the weeds requires extreme management skills.
3. Teamwork: Sandbag someone in the restaurant business by dropping several last-minute rush orders is never a good idea, unless your goal was to pick up extremely hot plates. But when someone needs help, one does not ask, one simply does because sometime soon that someone might be you.
So when presented a choice, hire someone with restaurant experience. Knowing their brain has likely been battled tested. Executing under high pressure situations where they have to think on their feet, work together as a team and be a master at time management.