Product Manager/Owner Challenges IT@Cork


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Talk at Cork IE monthly technology cluster meeting. Focusing on skills rather than titles, how do we avoid product manager/owner failure modes for commercial software?

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  • A lot of levers to pull to influence business outcomes
  • Believe in rational markets, unemotional product comparisons, technically adept customers
  • Degenerative case: one person has to do it all. Suck it up.
  • Symptoms:
  • Challenges: PO tends to stay inwardly focused, not build outward skills.PM tends to ignore/slight intense agile activity and strategic product opportunities it presentsSenior PMs see join PO role as less valuable/importantCounterbalances:Pair of PM and PO, high-bandwidth collaboration on iteration planning and acceptance criteriaCareer track discussions for PO: up to PM, over to PgM, over to EngM…
  • Challenge: individual PMs are (appropriately) pulled into deep agile details and iteration rhythms. Tend to lose contact with/focus on broader external markets / customers / competitors.Need to balance this with a senior PM (dir PM…) who works product strategy and integration issues.
  • Product Manager/Owner Challenges IT@Cork

    1. 1. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE Product Managers, Agile Product Owners and Building Great Products Rich Mironov IT@Cork 11 Feb 2014 1 ©  Rich  Mironov,  2014  
    2. 2. •  Veteran product manager/executive •  6 startups, including as CEO •  “The Art of Product Management” •  Founded Product Camp, chaired first Agile conference product tracks ABOUT RICH MIRONOV 2W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    3. 3. •  “Product manager” is a job title •  Org charts, HR category, not necessarily agile •  Mostly in technology-as-revenue firms •  “Product owner” is an agile team role •  Part of self-organizing team within Engineering or Program Office •  Internal IT or technology-as-revenue •  Work has to get done, regardless of title •  Sprint-level stories, backlogs, priorities, acceptance… •  Engagement with users, buyers and corporate priorities THE SET-UP 3W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    4. 4. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE market information, priorities, requirements, roadmaps, epics, user stories, backlogs, personas, MRDs… product bits strategy, forecasts, commitments, roadmaps, competitive intelligence budgets, staff, targets Field input, Market feedback Segmentation, messages, benefits/features, pricing, qualification, demos… Markets & CustomersDevelopment Marketing & Sales Executives Product Management WHAT DOES A PRODUCT MANAGER DO? W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M 4
    5. 5. •  “…represents the customer’s interest in backlog prioritization and requirements questions... available to the team at any time.” •  Provides intense sprint-level focus: stories, backlog, prioritization, acceptance •  Gets lots of love from Development •  Feeds the hungry agile beast WHAT DOES A PRODUCT OWNER DO? W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M 5
    6. 6. Steam engine “firemen” need to shovel coal constantly, otherwise the train will stop FEEDING THE AGILE BEAST 6W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    7. 7. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE backlog, priorities, epics, user stories, personas, demo feedback product bits Markets & CustomersDevelopment Marketing & Sales Executives Product Owner ‘small p’ PRODUCT OWNER W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M showcase customers 7
    8. 8. •  Engineering output •  Product features •  Order of delivery •  Whole product/business model •  Pricing •  Competitive positioning •  Partners and Channels •  Services and Support •  Fit with corporate strategy •  Product split, merge or EOL PRODUCT MANAGER HAS MORE LEVERS 8 Product manager Product owner A"er:  Greg  Cohen   W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    9. 9. Analyzed 41 US tech product manager job postings •  76% want previous product manager experience •  93% want a BS (68% prefer CS/EE) •  93% want excellent verbal and written communication skills •  32% want MBAs •  88% want experience in that company’s market segment WHAT PM HIRING MANAGERS WANT 9W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    10. 10. •  Naturally look for advanced users (SMEs) •  Huge premium on technical chops, story writing •  Rarely consider market-side experience •  Undervalue “deflection” skills •  Good match for IT project with strong champion •  Sucks for commercial (revenue) products WHEN DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS CHOOSE THEIR PRODUCT OWNERS… 10W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    11. 11. •  Most product management teams were already understaffed •  Product ownership adds 40-60% more critical work •  One product manager can “do it all” for a single agile team •  But typical Dev:PM ratio is 25:1, not 10:1 PROD MGMT: OVERSUBSCRIBED, OVERCOMMITTED, BURNING OUT 11W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    12. 12. PRODUCT MANAGER FAILURE MODES 12W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M Product Manager fails agile team when… •  Part-timer, not engaged with team •  Lack of detail on stories •  Stale backlog •  Best of intentions, but pulled in too many directions •  “Build what I meant”
    13. 13. PRODUCT OWNER FAILURE MODES 13W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M Product Owner fails the market when… •  Weak on market realities: pricing, packaging, selling cycle, upgrades, discounting, service models, competitive dynamics •  Disconnected from Marketing, Sales, Support •  Trading off company strategy for product features •  Confusing showcase customers with broader market
    14. 14. •  Delivering products that don’t sell •  Outdated plans •  Urgency to start coding •  Titles don’t create revenue MARKET FAILURES 14W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M
    15. 15. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE MINIMAL PM/PO “ORGANIZATION” W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M 15 VP or Founders more technical more market-focused Heroic Single Product Manager/Owner “management”
    16. 16. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE DYSFUNCTIONAL PO/PM ORGANIZATION W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M 16 VP Eng Product Owners more technical more market-focused VP Marketing “management” Product Managers
    17. 17. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE PM/PO ORGANIZATIONAL MAP: MARKET MENTORING W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M 17 GM / VP Eng / VP Products / CPO more technical more market-focused Product Owner Senior Product Manager “management”
    18. 18. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE PM/PO ORGANIZATIONAL MAP: PRODUCT PEERS W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M 18 PM Director/ Product Strategist GM / VP Eng / VP Products / CPO more technical more market-focused “management”
    19. 19. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE CONTACT Rich Mironov, CEO Mironov Consulting 233 Franklin St, Suite #308 San Francisco, CA 94102 RichMironov   @RichMironov   W W W . M I R O N O V . C O M 19