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Product Management in the Open (Source)
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Product Management in the Open (Source)



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  •   The definition provided is a composite of several definitions of product management, but includes users as an equal to revenue and profit which is important whenever you’re discussing open source.  This differs from the  traditional definition of product management which historically has been manufacturer-driven and focused on sales and profit.   Traditional product management has focused on uncovering and solving the needs of a limited set of key stakeholders (ie. large customers, partners, etc).Sometimes its not profit, its sustainabilitu, or…..And then there might be “the mission” too


  • 1. Product Management in the Open (Source) Discussion encouraged by Larissa Shapiro Open Source Bridge Portland, OR June 18, 2013 (, @larissashapiro)
  • 2. Procedural Matters Who am I Who are you What are we talking about
  • 3. What is product management? Classic: “Product management is discovering, documenting, and prioritizing user stories with the objective of maximizing some combination of users, sales revenue, and profit. ” Uuuuh.
  • 4. What does the product manager do? Listen to all the “stakeholders” Especially the users. All the people. A lot. This is job one. Get ALL THE data! Market data, community data, user data, sales data! Be the “voice of the user” Define the roadmap. Collaboratively. Write product “requirements” Collaboratively. Are these jobs different, in open source? Do open source projects need these things?
  • 5. What does the product manager… not do? Product manager does not equal project or program manager, except when it does Product manager does not equal developer or architect, except when it does Product manager does not always mean product “owner” in the Agile/Scrum sense either, but sometimes it does.
  • 6. Emphasize the Community The often stated goal of product management is to solve real user problems under real scenarios. How better than with true community engagement But what does that look like, for a product manager?
  • 7. How does your project do it? I personally especially want to know if folks have (or are) “volunteer” product managers and how that’s going?
  • 8. Kittens Er, questions? Discussions! Please don’t hesitate to bug me later. (, @larissashapiro)