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Product Management Basics for Project Managers

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ProDUCT management is often a murky role: poorly understood and inconsistently practiced across tech companies – and often confused with proGRAM and proJECT management. Yet done well, product management is a driver of market success and effective development. Agile teams building commercial software have additional role confusion between product owners and sometimes-agile product managers. This PMI webinar outlined product management basics, contrasted them with project/program management, and matched this to scrum-defined product ownership.

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Product Management Basics for Project Managers

  1. 1. Product Management Essentials For Project Managers Rich Mironov 18 October 2016 PMI / Project Management.com
  2. 2. • Veteran product manager/software exec • “What do customers want (to pay for)?” • Organizing agile/lean product organizations • Smokejumper VP Products • 6 startups, including as CEO/founder • “The Art of Product Management” About Rich Mironov w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 2
  3. 3. Disjoint Communities Product Managers Project and Development Managers Not enough overlap or shared thinking w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 3
  4. 4. • What does a product manager do? • Product vs. Project/Program Management • Agile product managers and product owners • Takeaways Agenda w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 4
  5. 5. • Commercial software companies • Responsible for technical delivery AND revenue results • Scaled-up IT organizations • At product / portfolio / strategy levels • Usually a formal position Our focus is on jobs-to-be-done and skills, not titles Where Do We Find Product Managers? w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 5
  6. 6. • For commercial / revenue software… • Drives delivery and market acceptance of whole products • Targets market segments, not individual customers • For strategic internal development… • Drives funding, acceptance and adoption • Resolves inevitable competing priorities What Does a Product Manager Do? w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 6
  7. 7. 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 7
  8. 8. • Engineering demand always >> supply • Exclusive-OR trade-offs, but AND demands • Facts are not sufficient • Sales teams paid to close individual deals • HIPPO • Influence from market/ customer knowledge Product Management: Inherently Political w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 8
  9. 9. Good product managers drive customer-relevant decisions (choices) despite uncertainty, resource shortages and contradictory goals w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 9
  10. 10. • Pulls into product station every day • From customers, sales, support, execs, engineers… • Delivers hundreds of “good ideas” each day • Few are new or earthshaking Good Idea Train w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 10
  11. 11. There’s nothing more wasteful than brilliantly engineering a product that doesn’t sell, or a project that doesn’t matter. w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 11
  12. 12. • What does a product manager do? • Product vs. Project / Program Management • Agile product managers and product owners • Takeaways Agenda w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 12
  13. 13. Disclaimers • No role/title consistency • Unclear division of labor • Execs create novel organizations • Every company is uniquely dysfunctional • Good teams make things work in spite of titles and roles Product, Project, Program? w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 13
  14. 14. • Project/Program Managers tasked with how to deliver • Not-so-secretly worry about market success • Product Managers tasked with what to build/buy (and sequence) • Not-so-secretly worry about delivery, quality, completeness One Problem,Two Viewpoints w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 14
  15. 15. • Product: more outward-facing market-visible decisions • What BENEFITS/FEATURES are market segments demanding? • How are we POSITIONED and PRICED versus competitors? • WHICH must-ship feature will we DROP first? • SALES impact of slipped dates? Commitments? • Project: more inward-facing resource allocation decisions • HOW should we get this done? WHO works on what? • WHEN will it actually ship? • Have we defined and met QUALITY goals? • What outside RESOURCES could speed things up? In a Perfect Organization… w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 15
  16. 16. Product managers sense the market by… • Helping close deals • Stacks of non-sales-cycle discussions with customers/prospects • Sweating price/volume forecasts • Identifying novel (or terrible) user cases • Walking a mile in customer’s shoes Living The Customer’s Reality Source: Pragmatic Marketing w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 16
  17. 17. • What does a product manager do? • Product vs. Project / Program Management • Agile product managers and product owners • Takeaways Agenda w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 17
  18. 18. Product Managers, Product Owners Product Backlog Epics & User Stories Release Backlog Epics & User Stories Sprint Backlog User Stories Potentially releasable software Software release Accepted story (“DONE”) Review Demo, feedback Retrospective Process improvement 1 day Daily Standup Sprint: 1 to 3 weeks No changes in duration or goal Release planning Sprint planning Charter Release Retrospective Process improvement N sprints product manager focus product owner focus w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 18
  19. 19. market information, priorities, epics, user stories, backlogs, personas… product bits Markets & CustomersDevelopment Marketing & Sales Executives Product Management ‘Small p’ Product Owner w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 19
  20. 20. Commercial Product Failures Product Backlog Epics & User Stories Release Backlog Epics & User Stories Sprint Backlog User Stories Potentially releasable software Software release Accepted story (“DONE”) Review Demo, feedback Retrospective Process improvement 1 day Daily Standup Sprint: 1 to 3 weeks No changes in duration or goal Release planning Sprint planning Charter Release Retrospective Process improvement N sprints Most product failures happen here
  21. 21. Typical Commercial Software Company’s Development Budget Features for current release 50% Quality (refactor, test automation) 15% Engineering overhead, 10% Big future bet, 5% Sales one-offs, non-roadmap 20% w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 21
  22. 22. • Hard to rank-order unlike items • Where does this bug go versus minor features? • A one-off customization versus more DevOps work? • Instead, group similar requests • Which two features will we put into v6.5? • P0, P1, P2, P3… • We can fund one audacious, long-term program: teleportation or synthetic petroleum Prioritizing Within Buckets w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 22
  23. 23. Product Failure Modes Product Manager fails agile team if • Part-time, disengaged • Stale backlog, skimpy stories • Pulled in too many directions • Not buffering team interrupts • “Build what I meant” Product Owner fails marketplace if • Weak on market realities • Disconnected from Marketing, Sales, Support, executives • Wander from product strategy • Confuse showcase customers with broader market
  24. 24. 1. Product management struggles with market success, product sufficiency and inconsistent customer segments 2. Project management struggles with resources, timelines and unreasonable commitments 3. Simplistic product owner role often fails to address market complexities 4. We need to work together to ship great products! Takeaways w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 24
  25. 25. CONTACT Mironov Consulting 233 Franklin St, Suite #308 San Francisco, CA 94102 RichMironov @RichMironov Rich@Mironov.com w w w . M i r o n o v . c o m 25

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