Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow


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When leaving the company I worked for recently, I wanted to leave a few thoughts with my team as I departed. I knew they were capable to continue delivering value to the organization without me, but sometimes having reminders is critical to moving forward.

This really has been what my blog has been about. Reminders to myself. And much of what follows in this post you may have likely seen already. Essentially I coalesced thoughts from over the years into a single post covering these thoughts:

  • Remember why you are here – a focus on process
  • Focus on execution – understanding the lifecycle
  • Pay attention to measurement – the numbers don’t lie
  • Dream big – one of my favorite concepts

I hope this reminder serves you well.

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New Year’s Resolutions & Carrying the Baggage


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I was reminded just the other day of the importance of intentionality when it comes to carving out time for strategic thinking. Looking back, I haven’t done a very good job adhering to this principle … at least as it applies to this blog. Sigh, where does the time go … my last post going all the way back to May! Makes me think of lyrics to a song (bonus points for anyone who can guess where it is from).

It’s astounding
e is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely
Not for very much longer
I’ve got to keep control

Given we are still somewhat early in the new year, it is appropriate to be thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Time to take control of our lives again; time to make changes to better ourselves; time to stop the madness. But at the same time, it isn’t always easy to make the changes and move forward without addressing some of the baggage we all carry. 

As this is true with our personal lives, so it is true with technology and Product Management. Curious?

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Aha! Musings – Status Reports


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I’ve used Aha! in the past. And in my current role, I successfully advocated for introducing and leveraging Aha! because of the value it brings value across the many facets of what we are trying to do from a Product Management perspective … from ideation to planning to roadmap to development to launch.  The alternative is to manage by relying on emails, spreadsheets, one off conversations, custom presentations, etc. … it’s certainly doable, but not efficient!

But like any tool, it is not without its challenges & faults. So, as I struggle through various things related to Aha!, I thought it would be beneficial to share my findings and workarounds.

This post’s perspective is on publication of status reports.

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The intersection of Leadership, Ted Lasso, and ChatGPT


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Two completely different threads recently intersected in a way I hadn’t anticipated, and I thought this would make for a good topic of discussion. One thread ties back to watching the show Ted Lasso recently, and I’ve been thinking an interesting/fun post could be to use quotes from the show to highlight leadership principles. This, afterall, seems to align nicely with the purpose of this blog.

A completely separate thread is digging into ChatGPT training modules at work to understand how this will impact me going forward. Certainly, from a technology perspective and how it many impact my approach to bringing products to market. But also, with how Product Management may have to evolve as a result of this new technology. Why do I think it will have an impact? Well, just consider these two poignant facts from the training module:

  • ChatGPT is the fastest platform to reach 100M users in the history of all computing.
  • ChatGPT crossed the chasm for AI into the mainstream and is ushering in the 4th industrial revolution.

So, you may be wondering ‘what is the intersection’? Good question. In one of the training modules the instructor was talking about using ChatGPT for communication … with emails, social media posts, and even blogs. Hmmm … what if I ask it to write the article for me? So, I decided to test it out and see how it works.

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The Importance of Portfolio Review & Governance


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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.  It is always the result of high intentionsincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” 


With respect to a process that most certainly raises the hackles on many folks, I couldn’t think of a better way to describe the intent behind why having a Portfolio Review & Governance process is so important than this quote from Aristotle.

As an organization, we align around a certain set of goals every year to help drive the business forward. Not every idea makes the final cut, but this painstaking process is necessary to focus everyone on the core set of major work initiatives to bring about the biggest impact. These major work initiatives are often aligned by business lines, product lines, geographic lines, etc, and get broken down into distinct blocks of work delivered over the course of due time via an agreed upon product roadmap.

Sounds simple enough, right? What could possibly be so difficult in delivering against what we said was so important? Well, as Product Management leaders I am quite certain you have experienced some of these … competitive disruptions, acquisitions, a new major customer/partner, a leadership change inside the organization, a critical system failure, a pandemic, etc. I’ve personally experienced changes due to all of these and I’m certain this is not an exhaustive list.

What is critical is not managing towards an expectation of preventing change, but rather having the confidence to manage through the change WHEN it does occur. Not if, when.

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Ideas > Planning > Roadmap > Launch

In December, the focus from my Coalescing Principles post centered on three fundamental areas Product Management leaders should be focused on: Vision, Execution, & Measurement. And it further explored the idea of competencies by asking the questions what is the organization expecting of us in this role? How are we doing against those expectations?

Providing clarity around these questions, to the team as well as to the organization at large, was a theme I took into our annual Sales Kickoff Event. It starts with an understanding of what Product Management is (and to be clear there are many perspectives out there if you were to search the term). I like this adaptation of one I found on Wikipedia because it is simple enough to follow, and if you were to evaluate the essence of the many Product Management frameworks out there, they all build their models around this context:

Product Management is the business process of managing the entire lifecycle of introducing a product or service … from ideation to planning to development to launch.

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Coalescing Principles


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You don’t build a business, you build people. And then people build the business.

Zig Ziglar

I love this quote. And with 2022 winding down and 2023 on the horizon, the idea of building people is forefront in my mind. As I was thinking about ‘how can we end this year well and get the new one off to a flying start’, an opportunity presented itself. PI Planning for Q12023 was coming upon us, and as my boss so poignantly reminded me … how we execute in Q1 will set the tone for the rest of the year. What better time to bring the team together a day early for an all-day Product Summit.

From an agenda perspective, there were several things on my mind. First, this is a new team. Partially blended together because of internal changes organizationally, partially because we’ve added several new members to the team. One objective was finding a way to accelerate the Form/Norming stages of new team development. The second objective centered on ensuring expectations for the new year were firmly rooted.

It was in preparing for this Product Summit I had an aha moment … where several ideas from this blog began to coalesce into something I hadn’t seen before. And I thought it worth sharing.

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Happy Thanksgiving


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The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.

– Max De Pree

I don’t recall how I stumbled upon this quote, but as I think about where we are in the year, what a wonderful reminder to take a deep breath, exhale, and remember what is important. For many, this tends to be the time of year where family gathers, where trips down memory lane take center stage, and where often we give thanks.

I am certainly looking forward to the several day respite from work to do so with my family. And I would be remiss not to take a moment to reflect and give thanks from a professional standpoint as well, with the quote providing a nice segway to do so.

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The Same Word, a Completely Different Context


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It has been many years since my last post on this topic, and yet the conversation has reared its head at least twice over the past several weeks. As I think about our roles as Product Management leaders, never has the term VUCA been more prevalent. Consider these rapidly changing variables and how they impact our day-to-day lives:

  • environmental – consider the new normal given the impacts and residual effects of COVID in our everyday lives (from vanishing handshakes, to more prevalent mask wearing, to remote working, etc)
  • economic – volatility in the stock market I haven’t experienced as an adult, and my kids have never known
  • technology – there are so many changes to consider, but the two that made me stop and wonder were these:
    • every second, there are an estimated 127 new devices connecting to the internet
    • 90% of the world’s data was collected in the last 2 years
  • behaviors – the only thing advancing faster than technology is consumer expectations
  • business – shift to platforms, APIs, digital, etc. … consider the fact 7 of the 10 most valuable & influential companies in the world are powered by platforms (Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.)

This type of dynamic landscape can only be characterized as Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. But what does this mean in our roles as Product Management leaders?

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The 5 Product Questions Leading Into PI Planning


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The temperature is beginning to release us from the dog days of summer, the leaves are starting to change, and of course Pumpkin Spice is back on the menu just about everywhere you go. This can mean only one thing. Yep! It’s strategic planning season heading into Q4 … a.k.a PI Planning time.

Credit to QuoteFancy

Why the focus on this topic here today? What role should Product Management leaders play in the overall process? What is necessary from a preparation standpoint, and what should be expected with the output?

Today we’ll explore the high level context of the PI Planning event (lots of good sources out there for this topic), but really where I want to focus the discussion is around what I believe are the 5 essential questions every product manager should be asking as they head into discussions. Let’s dig in.

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