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What Tools Do You Use For Product Management Discussion Notes
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What Tools Do You Use For Product Management Discussion Notes

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Notes from an interactive discussion at P-Camp Silicon Valley 2008 on what tools PMs are using, especially for requirements management.

Notes from an interactive discussion at P-Camp Silicon Valley 2008 on what tools PMs are using, especially for requirements management.

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  • 1. What Tools Do You Use For PM and Why? P-Camp 2008 Discussion Moderated by Nils Davis Director of Product Management Accept Software Thanks to all the participants in the discussion! (Notes by Nils Davis)
  • 2. Categories of PM Activities
    • * Marketing
    • * Requirements
    • * Collaboration
      • Working with engineering
    • * Customer feedback
      • Enhancement requests
      • Defects
    • Ideas
      • Internal
      • Customers
    • Decisions that need to be made
    • Communication management
      • Who owes me what?
      • Workflow
    • Roadmapping
    Items with *’s were prioritized higher for discussion
  • 3. Marketing
    • How do you get the word out about your product
      • (Sounds like product marketing)
      • Use Ad Words
    This turned out to be a short discussion
  • 4. Requirements
    • What are the requirements problems?
      • Always changing
      • Markets are changing
      • Changing priorities
        • Customer feedback
        • Business strategy
        • Deal of the Day
        • Funding
        • Competitors
      • Figuring out how valid the requirements are
      • Centralizing
        • Single source of truth
      • Sharing and communicating
      • Tying together reqs and UE design and technical design
      • Am I done?
  • 5. How Do People Manage Requirements?
    • Giant Word document
    • Giant Excel spreadsheet
    • Giant GoogleDocs
    • Wiki
      • Benefits:
        • Doesn’t have to be perfect – low friction
        • Everybody has access – more diverse inputs
        • Basecamp - comments underneath the wiki, but doesn’t change the wiki page
          • “ Meta comment level”
      • Cons
        • Can’t prioritize wiki pages
        • Hard to get QA test plans out of the wiki
          • No logical order
          • “ Depends on wiki” – if programmable, can write scripts
        • Not as authoritative as a document
        • Potential loss of control
          • Can use scripts to impose some workflow (Flexwiki)
        • Search can be a problem if wiki is large
  • 6. How Do People Manage Requirements?
    • Online app
      • Does both bug tracking and requirements (TargetProcess)
    • Bug tracker
      • Jira (+ Clearspace)
      • TRAC – not recommended
      • SourceForge – painful
      • Bugzilla
    • Backlog tols
      • VersionOne, Rally, Scrumworks, etc.
      • Gets very complicated
        • Four days of training and setup required
    • Living specs – prototypes
    • UML
    • Basecamp
      • Use messages for discussions
      • Also use Writeboards
        • They just accumulate and can’t be nested
  • 7. How Do People Manage Requirements?
    • Mindmapping
    • Omni Outliner
      • Use personally, then print out
    • Personal wiki
    • Omni Focus
    • Write on paper or whiteboard
      • Then digitize and put in repository
    • Lighthouse
      • Enables tagging
  • 8. Goals for Requirements Management
    • Clarity of what to do
      • Need to describe what you want to have happen
      • Be able to prioritize
    • Tie the $$ associated with the feature to the individual requirement
      • How about business objectives
    • Depends on the PM
      • Different tools fill in different areas of weaknesses
      • Memory enhancement
      • Prioritization help
    • Visibility of business side to engineering team
  • 9. What About Getting Ideas and Customer Feedback?
    • Goals
      • Comment: Requirements written by or developed with a customer are implicit contract
        • Reluctant to write down everything a customer wants
        • Would rather use a conversation about their products
      • “ It’s a plan, not a commitment”
      • Value of PM is taking lots of input, and synthesizing it
    • Breakdown of customer-based ideas vs. internal
    • Customer community systems?
      • Clearspace runs their own community
      • How about control?
      • Benefit if customers create their own community for you
        • GetSatisfaction – create communities for you with no commitment from you
      • Probably need 500 customers for this to work
      • Is there a relationship between the type of s/w and success of a community?
  • 10. Prioritization
    • Use Excel for calculating a priority based on # of customers calling in, etc.
    • Can forward emails to a certain bucket, and they review the bucket for the amount of activity
  • 11. Tools Used For UI Mockups
    • Omni Graffle
    • Paper – low friction
    • “ Agile usability” discussion group on Yahoo has a really long thread on usability tools
    • Visio
    • PPT 2007 with animation
    • Photoshop
    • Axure
      • Captures interactions
      • Generates HTML
      • Expensive?